Jo Bramley-Wright talks Eden Arts Young Curators 2016 as part of the C-Art programme

2016C Art Young Curators 64

Project Officer Jo Bramley-Wright helped to grow C-Art to an award winning project - winning Cumbria Tourism's Event of the Year 2014 - and developed the many strands of the project during her time at Eden Arts. At its height, C-Art consisted of over 100 artists in remote and rural locations around Cumbria taking part in the Open Studio trail, renowned contemporary artists from across the UK and Europe bringing their latest works to Penrith, two contemporary arts exhibitions - Cumbrian Artist of the Year and Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year, an Art Fair, a programme of commissioned works, Art in Extraordinary Places and a Young Curators Scheme.

"One of the projects I most enjoyed working on was the return of Young Curators in 2016. We saw an enthusiastic group of young people participate in selecting and hanging the inaugural Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition held in the Rheged Gallery. Selected from a wide pool of applicants from across the county, with varied ages from A-Level to graduate, Eden Arts (partnered with Rheged) visited London with the group to learn about the curation of the most famous open exhibition in the country- the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. They learned about the curation of this exhibition and the neighbouring Hockney portrait exhibition. We were lucky to have Eliza Bonham-Carter, head of the school, show us around and invite the group to the Academician's Room for drinks and debate leading a discussion on the two exhibitions.

This group of Young Curators were instrumental in selecting, and hanging, the Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition and they did an amazing job. They went on to form a blog and one of the group went on to win the Young Cumbrian artist at the Year the next year (another brilliant arm of the C-Art brand!)

At its peak C-Art brought together artists from across the county, in their homes, studios, ‘Extraordinary Places’, schools and universities. By creating a platform for exhibiting and selling work C-Art brought together people working in a wide range of disciplines and it was always very satisfying seeing a sea of yellow signs and bunting out in September. I think the partnerships with with organisations such as the National Trust contributed to its success and the enthusiasm of the artists involved."

Between 2011 - 2017, C-Art connected over 260,000 visitors to Cumbrian artists, and saw over £710,000 in sales of Cumbrian art. Each year prizes of Cumbrian Artist of the Year and People's Choice were awarded to Cumbrian Artists, and the exhibition for 15 - 24 year olds, the Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year continues in partnership with The University of Cumbria.

[Image Top: Jo Bramley-Wright chatting to artist John Hewitt at his studio in 2015. Image Insert: Jo Bramley-Wright (left) with the Young Curators and John Stokes, Rheged Gallery (right)]

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