Venues pitched their ideas, more than 30,000 votes were cast and one winning margin was just five votes as the public chose their favourite museum and gallery events in the Museums at Night 2013 Connect10 competition.
The contest to match ten major artists with ten museum and gallery events for Museums at Night 2013 saw 38 venues compete for a cast of ten including Jake and Dinos Chapman, Martin Creed, Gavin Turk and Richard Wentworth.
The public response to the online ballot on Culture24 surpassed last year's Connect10 competition, with several venues cruising past 1,500 votes to secure some very special Museums at Night events for the weekend of May 16-18.
In one of the competition's closest votes, 1,590 voters captured the Chapman Brothers for the Jerwood Gallery in their former hometown of Hastings, where a daytime session for families will be followed by a masked evening art event for adults. The brothers will be on hand to choose key pieces from the collection.
But the closest vote of all happened in the contest for sculptor Richard Wentworth. It took several recounts, 1,629 votes and the slender margin of just five votes for Manchester to triumph over Norwich's Dragon Hall. The multi-venue night-time event involves Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery who plan to mount an “exhibition in a night”, comprising a cabinet of curiosity culled from the prized items of local collectors.
Julia Vogl, a creator of social sculpture, architectural interventions and colourful public engagement projects, will be heading to the massive multifaceted playground that is Newcastle's Discovery Museum to take part in a large-scale participatory installation. The event, part of the city’s ever popular Late Shows, will invite visitors to use donated vessels to reflect the migration story of Tyneside.
Ironbridge Gorge, the iconic historical industrial site and home to ten award-winning museums in Coalbrookdale, will be hosting sculptor and creator of the Making the Connection communal sculpture project, Julian Wild. Votes peaked at 1,182 for the iconic site's plan to enlist Wild's help to build a large-scale collaborative installation made by members of the public inspired by the structures in the Gorge.
It was a two-horse race between London venues The Ragged School Museum and The Freud Museum for the presence of Martin Creed, but the Freud emerged victorious to host the Turner Prize-winning artist for a talk providing a fascinating insight into his artistic practice, interspersed with live musical performances.
Mat Collishaw was another hotly-contested artist, with four venues competing for his presence. Thanks to a resounding 1,768 votes, the photographer and video innovator will be heading back to his hometown of Nottingham for an evening at arts venue BACKLIT, where he will prepare and produce his work in the main gallery with public participation.
rAndom International’s recent immersive installation Rain Room, at Barbican’s Curve Gallery, had visitors queuing for hours. For Museums at Night they will be weaving their magic at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, whose 1,615 votes secured a live art event with an installation, music and storytelling inspired by the museum, garden spaces and natural history collections.
A Somerset slugging match emerged to secure the services of Gavin Turk - Bath and Bristol raced ahead of the competing pack. In the end, 1,906 votes for Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s evening magic carpet experience sealed it. The intriguing museum event will be created through storytelling, conversation and visitor participation linking ancient and modern Egyptian worlds.
Cullinan & Richards, an artist duo using installation, film and live action to create dynamic artworks referencing personal histories and fiction, are heading to 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe, where a re-enactment of Russ Meyer’s cult movie, Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! awaits them. The fun event promises go-go music, mondo movie auditions, film sets and a boxing ring.
Susan Forsyth, the adventurous sculptor whose formats include the Zusammen Choirs in which people have marched and sung together in locations right across Europe, will be heading to Rochdale. The art event, conjured by Rochdale Pioneers Museum and Touchstones Rochdale, takes the form of a specially prepared Zusammen Choir Procession which will march around Rochdale town centre celebrating the "capital of co-operation".
Culture24's Campaigns Manager Nick Stockman thanked all of the venues and voters who made this year’s Connect10 competition so exciting.
"It might not be appropriate to single out any particular venues but I’m going to anyway because the Manchester partnership venues and Norwich’s Dragon Hall were neck and neck all the way to the finish line," he added.
"Both deserve enormous credit for the efforts they went to, as do all the venues. We look forward to doing it all over again next year."
Dates, times and more details of the Connect10 museum and gallery events will be published on Culture24 during the next few weeks.
- Museums at Night 2013 sees hundreds of museum and gallery events take place in museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK during the evenings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 16-18.
- The Connect10 competition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.