Cumbria Crack

Cumbria’s biggest festival of contemporary art returns in September


152 artists in 60 places feature in a programme that includes the big C-Art exhibition at Rheged, the widest reaching Art in Extraordinary Places yet (across Cumbria from Walney to Carlisle) the new Art Fair and the Open Studios, and this year even more…

In addition to all this Cumbrian talent on display, the new approach for the 2017’s Festival includes both international and nationally renowned artists such as the UK’s Lone Twin, and Captain Boomer from Belgium (whose work has been described by cultural icon Lemn Sissay as “the best piece of street theatre I’ve ever seen….and it’s not even in the street!”).

Already one of the biggest visual rural arts projects in the North of England, C-Art organisers Eden Arts have been working to grow this year’s programme so that it features an even wider range of contemporary work. This mission to champion Contemporary Arts in Cumbria, has been supported by additional funds from Arts Council England.  Eden Arts is celebrating a new four year funding agreement with the Arts Council with this exciting development of C-Art.

New highlights include Lone Twin with their BEASTIE, Joan Shelley from the USA (fresh from featuring on Later…with Jools Holland), and amongst the Cumbrian artist highlights there will be Charlie Whinney and his intriguingly titled ‘MAN BENDS TREE’ project – Witherslack based Charlie will be doing just that! (note it is a tree already marked for felling)

The Festival kicks off on Friday 8th September with the preview of C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year Awards and Exhibition, followed by more special events across the next 10 days including an Art Fair featuring arts and crafts from across the north of England, national and international commissions from international performance and spoken word artists joining the line-up alongside the Open Studios and Art in Extraordinary Places programme.

Adrian Lochhead, Director at Eden Arts commented ‘We have been working hard all year behind the scenes to create a new approach to the C-Art programme, building on the incredible success that C-Art has had over the last 7 years, seeing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Cumbria to share our incredible artists in incredible landscape.”  He added “The additional support from the Arts Council has been crucial in us being able to programme more widely, creating an arts and culture festival of excellence truly with something for everyone”.

Talking about the programme he said, “It’s important to show off the wealth of Cumbrian creativity, from child focussed things such as BEASTIE, the trip on the La’al Ratty featuring Sarah Taylor’s work, art in places such as Honister Mine and Shap and Brampton and Dalemain and Carlisle Cathedral and the wonderful Art Gene bird hides on Walney Island, to the spectacular Captain Boomer, and the celebration of Cumbrian artists at the C-Art exhibition at Rheged, in their studios and in the Art in Extraordinary Places programme, this is something truly exceptional for Cumbria. I think we should issue a special prize to whoever is able to get around the whole thing!! In fact I think we will do just that – that’s a challenge….!”.

Highlights include:

Special Events Programme
LOWTHERMERE – hundreds of feet deep beneath Rheged; 8-11, 14-17 Sept, see website for times. Belgian artists Collective Captain Boomer, fresh from escapades in Paris and at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival present a special one-off opportunity that brings into question the very nature of the Lake District.

Come as You Are by Bill Leslie and Alex Bradley. 9th & 10th September 11am-1pm 2pm-4pm at Rheged. Come as You Are is a participatory performance about you. An invitation is issued to the audience to contribute facts via questionnaire. Artist Bill Leslie delicately interprets brief responses on an LED display, accompanied by Alex Bradley’s improvised soundtrack as the participant revolves on a small platform. An entertaining and enlightening means of seeing ourselves anew!

Beastie, by Lone Twin, Rheged, 16th & 17th September 2017. The Beastie is a mythical creature made real by children’s imaginations. The work is dependent on the facts given by the participants – presenting a version of themselves to the world. Bookings (for children only!) can be made through Rheged.

Adult Youth Club with Katie Hale, Rheged, 16-17 September 2-5pm, local poet and writer Katie Hale invites participants in a spoken word event as C-Art transforms Rheged’s Mountain Hall into a laid back lounge.

Richard Dedomenici will be premiering his REDUX of cult classic Withnail & I 16th & 17th September and his other intervention work features in a curated film programme 9th-17th September, Rheged. In 2013 Richard launched The Redux Project – his attempt to disrupt the cinema industry by making counterfeit sections of popular films. The project has so far taken him to London, Glasgow, Berlin, Bangkok, Sydney, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guaangzhou, BBC4 and many more, and, unlike most derivative works, his fakes have often received better reviews than the originals..

‘Outrageous, hilarious but piercing, a sharp critique of modern myth-making. ☆☆☆☆’
Scotsman, 2013, on Cloud Atlas: Redux

Joan Shelley

C-Art Soirée ft. Joan Shelley, Brunswick Yard, Sat 16th Sept 6pm – 11pm. American folk singer Joan Shelley returns to Cumbria as part of a UK Tour. Shelley appeared on Jools Holland this year and will play at Brunswick Yard in this intimate gig in Penrith, complete with wood fired pizzas. This ticketed event will act as a festival closing party for visitors and participating artists.  Tickets available at:

The ‘Razzle Dazzle’ Hides of South Walney Nature Reserve by Art Gene are an important stop-over for migrating birds. The bespoke hides designed by Artgene reflect the ship-building heritage of Barrow and are a new concept modular prefabricated de-mountable wildlife watching hide design. Cumbria’s Artgene are a leading national exemplar of culture and art relating to place, with a long history of producing outstanding work that reflects, celebrates, and records the often neglected Furness and Barrow as well as undertaking projects nationally.

Art in Extraordinary Places Programme

L’aal Ratty Mock up stag Sarah Taylor

Take a trip on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in search of Sarah Taylor’s vibrant and eccentric animals that have unexpectedly taken up residence along the route (8 – 24th September).

Artists in remarkable locations such as National Trust’s Allan Bank, once the home of William Wordsworth or find the Unstationary Artists located at the 15th Century Great Barn at Dalemain House (9-17th September 10am-4pm)

Discover the alchemy of Karen Guthrie artist in residence at the National Trust’s Acorn Bank as she creates a scent-rich exhibition inspired by Acorn Bank’s extensive gardens and plant collections, part of the New Arts Trust programme in National Trust properties that visitors can experience between (10th August – 29 October 2017).

Against the stunning backdrop of Fleetwith Pike and the Northern Fells Terry Hawkins, artist in residence at Honister Slate Mine has created two MUST SEE stunning site specific pieces (15-17th September 10-5pm 2017).

The backdrop of Carlisle Cathedral offsets Christine Hurford’s piece inspired by ancient footsteps of early man to the last footsteps on earth as life is fast disappearing (9-17 September 10-5pm 2017).

An artist collaboration of Debby Akam, Gary and Phoebe Power and Michael Hedges at the Penrith Old Fire Station, ‘Migration’ retells past and present recollections in a compelling narrative combination from sound, film and performance (9-17th September 10-5pm 2017).

Jocelyn McGregor’s monstrous sculptural landscapes based upon a fragmented female form are sited at the former World War II gunpowder factory at the Merz Barn, Elterwater (15-17 September 2017)

The Old Courthouse, Shap hosts the Highlights Rural touring show Luminosity an exciting exhibition based upon the theme of light featuring film, projection, electronics, paper, sculpture and glass (15th-22nd September 10-5pm 2017)

Charlie Whinney will be presenting his latest project Man Bends Tree, an exploration of mankind’s use of the natural world to meet with our needs and fulfil our desires. Visit his Witherslack studio to view his work and the woodlands from which he takes his materials. (8-17 September)

An intimate, immersive digital installation, Empire II is an artist led satellite project devised and curated by Vanya Balogh in collaboration with Rebecca Scott for 57th La Biennale di Venezia. The piece will confront us with ideas on climate change, politics of attrition, immigration, narcissism, sex, despair, love, hate, loss of identity, addiction, violence, false economics, digital rape, cybercrime, space travel, pollution, death and consumerism, at The Provincial Project Space, Kendal. (Friday 15th September 2pm – 10pm). The space will then transform into Rebecca Scott’s Open Studio for Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September.

Brampton comes artistically alive for the C-Art Festival weekend of 16-17th September 2017. Visit a whole selection of activities from C-Art Open Studios, pop-up exhibitions featuring local photographers and artists, jewellery, felt and glass beading demonstrations, an art and antiques trail and street-side art activities for all the family adding to the overall vibrancy across the town. Celebrating 200 years of the Moot Hall, the Moot200 art competition is open to Moot Hall related submissions until 31st August.

To submit contact [email protected]

Cumbrian Artist of the Year Exhibition
Cumbrian Artist of the Year Exhibition at Rheged 9th September – 5th November 2017 open daily 10am-5pm. This selected exhibition features incredible contemporary art of the highest quality that is fast becoming a benchmark for aspiring Cumbrian artists.

The exhibition features an eclectic mix of artworks working across all media from traditional painting and sculpture to contemporary video installation and photography, with a number of guest artists joining the submitted entries. The 2016 exhibition saw over 22500 visitors and 43 exhibiting artists selected from 87 entries.

The Cumbrian Artist of the Year Award is shortlisted and selected by the chosen Young Curators. The £500 award winner will be announced on the preview night of the exhibition. Previous winners include Karen Babayan and Sarah Tew.

An innovative and progressive format set by Eden Arts encourages and offers opportunity for the vitality and talent of the county’s youth to be developed by giving ‘Young Curators’ aged 16 – 24 not only the chance to select the work but to be involved in all aspects of planning, writing and installing the exhibition with professional assistance, each year with the support of prestigious curators.  In 2017 the Young Curators have been working with curators from CCA in Glasgow and Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool.

ART FAIR at Rheged
Rheged will be hosting an Art Fair 8-10th September 2017 (FREE ADMISSION 10am-5pm daily) with over 50 stalls selling high quality art, furniture, jewellery, craft, print and more. This is a chance to meet the makers, new and established artists, purchase or commission an artist directly in and amongst an amazing atmosphere of INSPIRING creativity!

Artists Open Studios
C-Art Open Studios: Friday 8 – Sunday 17 September 2017 (check website for each studio opening times)
C-Art Open Studios invites you in to experience the contemporary practice of artists Cumbria-wide. Celebrating and bringing together the creative talents and diversity of the area in an open studio trail of artists and designers across this beautiful county provides an exciting opportunity to gain insight and inspiration into the life, work and workplaces of Cumbrian based artists – many of whom will also share their expertise with demonstrations and workshops.
The Open Studios event saw over 25,000 visitors across 81 venues and raised £78,480 in sales for local artists last year.

All of this is C-Art Festival 2017 and…more to be announced!

Printed programmes will be available at participating galleries and tourist information centres across Cumbria throughout September. Yellow C-Art road signs will also guide people to participating studios, galleries, installations and events.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More