museumaker: is a pioneering partnership programme between craft makers and museums across the East Midlands.
New plans for the future in the innovative museumaker project, which brings together artist makers and museums, were unveiled at a celebratory event at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on May 17.
Two hundred people enjoyed perusing the museum’s collections and exhibitions during the evening as part of the launch. With canapés in one hand and a drink in the other, people were treated to a projector show of images to make the museumaker project really come alive for viewers.
Viewers were presented with images taken throughout the past year from the very beginning of the scheme to some of the final pieces.
Carl Clerkin’s Long Crawlies and Little Crawlies was unveiled at the launch.
Museumaker is an ambitious £310,000 partnership between contemporary craft makers and museums across the East Midlands. Since its commencement in April 2006, museumaker has already forged strong relationships with Arts Council England, East Midlands, MLA East Midlands and Renaissance East Midlands to unlock the creative potential of museums across the region.
“The museumaker programme illustrates well the importance of partnerships between the museum and heritage sector and today’s makers,” said Sir Christopher Frayling, Chair, Arts Council England.
To date, twenty East Midlands museums have already benefited from this scheme, resulting in new commissions by fifteen contemporary design makers. Unveiled this month, marking the successful completion of the first phase of the scheme, are five permanent works commissioned through the project.
Guest speaker at the launch, Louise de Winter, Director of the National Campaign for the Arts, has watched the progress of the project from its initial conception to execution of the pilot phase and is very excited about the prospects of the project.
Visitors were given the chance to view new works and plans for Museumaker 2007. Photo Chloe Titcomb © 24 Hour Museum / Renaissance East Midlands
“What a fantastic project! It provides a great opportunity for contemporary makers to showcase their talents and is exactly the kind of thing the National Campaign for the Arts wants to see happening across the country,” said Louise.
Officially unveiled at the launch was Carl Clerkin’s ‘Long Crawly Things’ and ‘Little Crawly Things,’ which is quirky, humorous seating to be used in the Joseph Wright of Derby Gallery. Clerkin was inspired by the behaviour of people in Wright’s paintings when creating his works.
Gone from the Joseph Wright Gallery is the standard gallery furniture; now Carl’s unusual furniture adds character and a contemporary feel. “It’s a delight to sit on an innovative and unique piece of art!” said Andrea Hadley-Johnson, Derby Exhibitions Officer.
Artist Laura Ellen Bacon was commissioned in 2006 to work on the Museumaker project at Charnwood Museum. Laura Ellen Bacon, Fallen Nest. © the artist
One of the most important aims of the museumaker project is to reach out to new audiences and create a contemporary feel in existing collections by commissioning modern artists. As with Museum and Galleries Month, the museumaker project aims to engage with the community and reflect what people feel now about the past or present.
Other works on commissioned so far for museumaker include ‘The Guildhall Madonna’ by Claire Curneen on display at St Mary’s Guildhall and a new weather garden by Robert Frith at Flintham Museum. There are also a number of commissioned pieces originally created in 2006 on show at Charnwood Museum, Newark Millgate Museum and New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.
After the great success of the project in the East Midlands, there are now plans to roll out the museumaker scheme nationally to capitalise on the talent existing in the United Kingdom.
The museums will all have their completed commissions on display during Summer 2007, with the exception of The Wedgwood project which will be on display from September 2007.
For a full list of museums involved in the museumaker project, visit www.museumaker.com
Chloé Titcomb is a Renaissance-funded student journalist covering MGM events in the East Midlands. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.