Five museums target Chapman Brothers and farmsteads in Art Fund crowdsourcing campaign

By Culture24 Reporter | 17 June 2014

The public will be able to directly support plans by five museums, including the Chapman Brothers' first return to the Jerwood Gallery since last year's Museums at Night



A crowdfunding project for museums and galleries, eschewing any fees and encouraging an “ongoing dialogue” between beneficiaries and donors, has been launched by the Art Fund with five museums in a range of projects aiming to raise between £10,000 and £25,000.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum, in the arch-backdropped industrial heritage heartland of Shropshire, and St Fagans National History Museum, in Cardiff, are among the first to take part in Art Happens, which aims to increase donations by righting some of the wrongs thought to deter visitors from making pledges.

Research by the Fund suggests visitors often fail to realise the value charitable donations could have to museums, believing a small show of support will have little tangible impact.

To remedy the disconnect, the scheme will offer the public rewards such as prints, publications and special events. Dedicated websites will update supporters on their chosen case’s progress, with donations starting at £5 and new projects added throughout the year.

Art Happens: The first five projects

A photo of a man perching in a gallery space while creating some sort of drawing
The Chapmans could return to Hastings© Jerwood Gallery, Hastings
Jerwood Gallery, Hastings
Bring the Chapman brothers home for their first major show in Hastings (£25,000)

Having visited the gallery for a Museums at Night special as part of last year’s Connect10 competition, the Jerwood wants to bring a major exhibition of work by the Chapman Brothers to the town where they grew up.

The exhibition will present new, previously unseen work and new commissions.

The pair will scour the antique emporiums and junk shops of Hastings for old artworks which will then be ‘fixed’ (or perhaps defaced) by the brothers in their inimitable style.

An “unusual” public programme of accompanying events is promised, 'including a ‘live’ fixing clinic where members of the public will be able to witness artworks being doctored by the brothers, as well as a tattoo parlour manned by Jake.

A photo of a design for a large formal garden outside a massive mansion and blue skies
Horticulture ahoy at Compton Verney© Dan Pearson
Compton Verney, Warwickshire
Create the first ever Dan Pearson and William Morris Meadow (£15,000)

A mown parterre based on the designs of legendary English designer William Morris.

The parterre will live within an immersive wildflower meadow developed by leading landscape designer Dan Pearson, who will become the first garden designer to have worked on the grounds since Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown during the 18th century.

The meadow aims to create a long-lasting legacy, encouraging new species of native wildflowers which were of particular interest to Morris and work with volunteers and grounds staff to re-populate the meadow with the new species for the project.

A photo of a small carved painting of an orange and blue plant with a green backdrop
This tile is one of the rewards offered to donors by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum© Ironbridge Gorge Trust
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Shropshire
Transform the Museum of the Gorge: Warehouse of the World (£25,000)

A total redesign of the gallery and an upgrade of the existing auditorium in the gothic 1832 building, creating a dynamic space for museum and community events at the heart of the World Heritage Site.

The new museum will narrate the story of how the river, roads, railways and canals came together to make the Gorge a vibrant hub of industry from the 1600s right up to the 1950s.

Once completed, the Museum of the Gorge will be the starting point for visitors wanting to explore the unique museums and landscapes of Ironbridge.

Upgraded audio-visual equipment will allow the museum to develop a varied programme of screenings, from historic Pathé footage to community film events.

A photo of a man in a medieval re-enactment costume pointing to a group of children
St Fagans travels back in time© Ian Daniel
St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff
The reconstruction of Bryn Eryr, an Iron Age farmstead (£25,000)

A project to build the rural settlement of Bryn Eryr, an Iron Age farmstead of two roundhouses based on an Anglesey archaeological site from the time of the Roman conquest.

The roundhouses will have six-foot-thick clay walls and conical thatched roofs. With the help of volunteers, the specialist historic building team will raise up the clay walls using traditional construction methods, using replicas of Iron Age tools made by the museum’s resident blacksmith and thatching made with spelt grown in a nearby field.

The homes in the settlement will be brought to life with household goods, ranging from bronze cauldrons and Roman-inspired pottery to colourful textiles hanging on looms and decorative glass beads.

The proposed settlement is part of the museum’s Making History Project, whose goal is to transform the much-loved museum into a space where visitors can follow the stories of the people of Wales.

A photo of a large artwork full of religious imagery
Unseen 15th century works at the Bowes© Bowes Museum
The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham
Reveal hidden 15th century Renaissance art (£21,000)

Working with furniture conservator Rupert McBain, curators want to redisplay and conserve the 15th century altarpiece to reveal six unseen oil paintings that are currently hidden from view on the back of the shutters, and have never been seen by the public.

The redisplay will include building a new oak frame with a mechanism to regularly open and close the panels to give access currently restricted to the public.

The altarpiece will be raised and displayed on a stand in the Museum’s 15th century picture gallery alongside paintings from the religious art collection, aiming to recreate the impression of its original position in a church above the altar.

The project will also reunite beautiful carved oak figures in the Museum store with those in the gallery, returning the Passion Altarpiece to its former glory.


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