Lakeland Arts receives £80,000 grant to invest in collections strategy.  

Lakeland Arts has been announced as one of the recipients of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, joining nearly 200 projects funded since 2011. 

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association, supports a range of projects that bring collections closer to people. The grant for Lakeland Arts is awarded for a two-year project that rethinks collaborative working practices at Abbot Hall art gallery in Kendal. The project will explore new strategies to connect the gallery and its collection with the community. The funding will support a new Civic Engagement Curator post at Lakeland Arts, a freelance and volunteer collective and new programme activity. 

Rhian Harris, Chief Executive Lakeland Arts comments, We are putting the collection and how people can engage with and be inspired by it, at the heart of our programming strategy. We reopened Abbot Hall earlier this year with a takeover exhibition by British land artist Julie Brook, launching our new creative vision which focuses on themes of landscape, ecology, and identity. We’re delighted to receive support from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund. This grant will enable Lakeland Arts to unlock the potential for transformative change, using Abbot Hall as the catalyst to fuel a new approach to developing the exciting cultural offer in the region.” 

Lakeland Arts plans to work with communities from Kendal and across Westmorland and Furness. Work will centre upon Abbot Hall’s nationally significant art collection, one of the largest of its kind in the North, including landscape paintings by JMW Turner and John Ruskin and a strong Modern British collection.  

Helen Stalker, Head of Curatorial Lakeland Arts says, “By enabling greater connection to artworks through new and radical exhibition, interpretation and audience engagement strategies we will use our collection to inspire, inform and connect more deeply with different people of all ages and backgrounds. 

The new curator will work with our existing team at Lakeland Arts and develop a collective of artists, practitioners, researchers, schools and interested people in the local area to shape our programme of activity, with the aim of making our gallery a vibrant community hub.” 

Read more about the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund 2023 recipients here Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund – Museums Association. 

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