Search starts for artists to put in art festival's spotlight

Big Knitting by Victoria MacLeod on show during Lumiere Durham 2015, Photo by Matthew Andrews
Big Knitting by Victoria MacLeod on show during Lumiere Durham 2015, Photo by Matthew Andrews

The team behind one of the North East's biggest celebrations of art is looking for creative minds to make pieces to wow the crowds.

Arts charity Artichoke has launched its search for 2017’s Brilliant creators, inviting people to submit original ideas which could be turned into displays at this year's Lumiere festival.

Durham Castle lit up during 2015's Lumiere.

Durham Castle lit up during 2015's Lumiere.

It will run from Thursday, November 16, to Sunday, November 19, in Durham and will be held for the fifth time.

The Brilliant competition is open to anyone originally from, or living in the North East, who has a potentially winning idea to create a new artwork made with light.

People do not have to be artist to take part in the challenge and anyone over the age of 18 can apply.

No experience is necessary, but the organisers say light should be at the heart of the idea.

Mick Stephenson with a section of his recreation of Durham Cathedral's Rose Window using plastic bottles, put on show during last year's Lumiere. He got involved after first taking part in Brilliant at an earlier festival.

Mick Stephenson with a section of his recreation of Durham Cathedral's Rose Window using plastic bottles, put on show during last year's Lumiere. He got involved after first taking part in Brilliant at an earlier festival.

The winning applications will receive funding and practical support from Lumiere producers Artichoke.

The closing date to submit ideas is noon on Monday, March 6.

The process for awarding commissions is split into two stages.

Stage one invites brief proposals stating concept and outline of the idea.

Mick Stephenson's finished version of the Rose Window.

Mick Stephenson's finished version of the Rose Window.

Stage two will invite those shortlisted to present more comprehensive proposals and will receive a bursary to support development costs.

A site visit will be involved.

“This is a chance for local people to shine and for us to celebrate creativity and discover local talent in the North East as part of the internationally recognised Lumiere festival”, said Kate Harvey, lead producer at Artichoke, who has been involved with Brilliant from the start.

“It’s been wonderful to discover new North East talent and each time the number of submissions has grown as people have got to know about the opportunity.
"It’s often the smallest ideas that make the greatest impact, so don’t be shy.

"I can’t wait to see what people propose."

Lumiere is produced by Artichoke and commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England and a raft of other partners and supporters

Durham County Council leader Councillor Simon Henig, said: “Making sure that our region and communities are at the heart of the UK’s largest light festival is really important to us, and one of the many reasons we commission this world class festival.

“As we celebrate Durham as a Place of Light I cannot think of a more perfect way for the public to help us illuminate all that is great about where we live and work.”

In 2015, more than 100 people applied to the Brilliant competition and four winning ideas were chosen to be part of the festival programme and showcased as part of Lumiere alongside international light artists and designers.

Past winners have included giant neon piece of knitting complete with needles, made by Victoria MacLeod, a retired teacher from Sunderland who turned her hobby of knitting into the eye catching Big Knitting and Sunderland student Robyn Wright’s delightful Neon Bikes.

Another past winner is Durham-based builder Mick Stephenson, who has put down his tools to become a full-time artist, exhibiting his work across the North East and in London.

Full details about how to apply can be found via: lumiere-festival.com together with a list of suggested locations.

For further information or questions about the competition contact brilliant@artichoke.uk.com.