Barnsley Art on Your Doorstep (BAYD) has received £49,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to go ahead with their project The Hidden Art of Barnsley.
Led by volunteers mainly from the local community, the project focuses on the histories of a number of artists born in or strongly connected with Barnsley and the stories behind their works. The group has been viewing and interpreting artworks and researching the lives of the artists for a number of month and will do for many more to come. It is an inspiring project, as even if you are a fan of the art that is un-covered, the stories of the lives of the artists told will help create a new picture of Barnsley’s past.
Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “It is so important for people to learn about their past and understand where they come from. Often what they discover will surprise and inspire them. The Hidden Art of Barnsley project will provide opportunities for people to learn new skills and develop an alternative view on Barns-ley’s past.”
Much of the funding will go towards an extensive learning programme which started to be rolled out in schools, colleges and with individuals and community groups of all ages late last year. There will be opportunities for volunteers to participate and learn new skills.
As a culmination of the project, there will be an exhibition of the fascinating stories and outstanding works of nearly 26 past Barnsley artists. This will be in the Cooper Gallery, Barnsley from June to August 2014.
In addition, there will be a range of ways people will be able to find out about the artists through booklets, websites and social media, and in the Archives and Local Studies library.
Local people of all ages will be able to attend classes, workshops and lectures and engage with some exciting activities (competitions, film making, digital model making). Local community events will also be organized.
Here is an example of the kinds of stories the group are uncovering…
“On the right are three watercolours by John Spence Ingall (1850-1936). John Spence Ingall was a Barnsley linen damask designer and founder member of the Staithes School of Art, centred on the fishing village north west of Whitby, North York-shire.
Around the turn of the 20th century, he eventually moved to Runswick, near Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast.
Although these paintings are signed, they are not dated.
We know that Ingall painted in the north of England. Could these first two paintings be in the Lake District? Do you recognise the skylines? Is this third painting of a British town and river? Or could it be French with its red-tiled roofs? Although Ingall lived in Runswick, he spent the winters in Tangier in North Africa.
Ingall has an impressionistic style and captures beautifully both the harsh, vivid light of Tangier and the gentler more muted light of northern Europe and the north Yorkshire moors and coast.
His main medium was watercolour; he achieved his atmospheric results by using his paint on a wet paper; this allowed him to meld his colours into one another giving a much less distinct line. This is particularly ap-parent on the 2 lakeside paintings which seem to have been taken from a larger sheet of paper. They could possibly have been studies for more detailed works to be produced later.
The third painting is a completed study where detail is more defined but the light is still beautifully represented.”
As you can imagine, when uncovering paintings such as these, there is a lot of lengthy research work that is undertaken. Difficult considering that some of the artists ended up as far afield as Canada. Some of the Barnsley artists ended up becoming famous in other countries but unknown in their own town. This project is a chance to create a legacy for those artists and to offer some recognition for their work.
The group is looking for new volunteers and there are a range of roles to work on. They will also provide training and support:
- Researching gaps in our knowledge about the artists
- Being part of an editorial panel for our publications
- Assisting with the organization of competitions
- Assisting the compilation of a booklet ‘Searching for Decorative Barnsley’, which is primarily aimed at children. It will involve finding decorative art on Barnsley’s buildings and photographing it for a booklet rather like an I Spy book
- Joining small groups to work on activities like constructing a Yurt
- Developing a digital re-creation of Gawber Glass House which was located next to the now demolished Gawber Hall
- Helping out with the exhibition in 2014
- Assisting with management
The group is also seeking for companies and individuals to sponsor additional projects, which they promise will be imaginative and ground breaking and will give excellent value to sponsors. Sponsors will be given credit for their
help and will appear in the publicity for the project.
For anyone interested in learning more about the project or in volunteering are invited to their illustrated talk on Monday 4th March 2013 at 2pm at The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley. This will be a chance to ask questions and put forward your views about what we are doing. Finishing time is 3.30pm.
Contact Barnsley Art on Your Doorstep >
16 Victoria Road, Barnsley, S70 2BB
or follow their facebook page www.facebook.com/Barnsleyartonyourdoorstep