Grant for Northumberland art project

A flagship project which hopes to create the UK’s first national Landscape Discovery Centre, has been awarded a grant from Arts Council England

A Project to create the UK’s first national landscape discovery centre in the North has been awarded a grant from the Arts Council to make the centre an artistic hub too.

The planned Sill Landscape Discovery Centre at Once Brewed, near Barton Mill, Northumberland, has been given £13,500 to develop an arts strategy.

Award-winning Northumbrian art curator Peter Sharpe has now been brought in by Northumberland National Park and the Youth Hostel Association - who are planning The Sill - to lead the research and development work which will shape The Sill’s future arts programme.

He said: “The opportunity to develop an art programme for such a prestigious project as The Sill is very exciting. The Sill will offer artists access and insight into Northumberland National Park’s landscape, communities and history, and their work will add an extra creative dimension to the many ways in which The Sill will enable people to enjoy and learn about this unique part of England.”

One of the main aims of The Sill project is to engage with young people, inspiring them to discover and learn about the landscape and its importance.

That work has already resulted in a series of cultural performances from acclaimed folk musican Shona Mooneyand a landscape photography competition which has attracted entries around the region and further afield.

Northumbria folk musician Kathryn Tickell, who is a Project Champion of The Sill, said: “Gaining extra support to help bolster the quality of art programmes on offer at The Sill is great news. It is so important to make the most of the beautiful surroundings of Northumberland National Park to hone the creative talents of youngsters. As a I child, I gained so much musical inspiration from all aspects of the local landscape and The Sill will ensure that future generations will continue to be inspired artistically in the same way.”

Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England, said: “I’m pleased that the Arts Council is helping to fund the development of an arts strategy for The Sill project. It is an exciting new concept in terms of cultural experience and the plans to work with young people will encourage them to engage with the arts and create a wider audience for the project. I’m looking forward to seeing how the project develops.”

The development phase of The Sill project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The National Park and YHA are now trying to raise an added £3.5m for the full project costs.

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