Beamish giving two visitors chance to create art work in a new Norman Cornish-inspired exhibit

The new ‘Make Your Mark’ activity will see two people selected to creatively contribute to the walls on No. 2 Front Street in Beamish’s 1950s terrace.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 9:35 pm
From left: Lisa Kaimenas and Connor Emerson of Beamish Museum with Dorothy and John Cornish in front of No. 2 Front Street terrace.
From left: Lisa Kaimenas and Connor Emerson of Beamish Museum with Dorothy and John Cornish in front of No. 2 Front Street terrace.

It is part of the open air muesum’s Remaking Beamish project and will tell the story of the Spennymoor Settlement of artists, writer and poets – with the exhibition to be based on the former home of celebrated artist Norman Cornish.

The ‘Make Your Mark’ activity is inspired by Norman, who used the freshly-stripped walls of his family home as a giant canvas before they were covered in wallpaper.

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The exhibition will be part of Beamish Museum's 1950s terrace.

John was born and lived there until he was 11-years-old – he has expressed his delight that the house will be based on his family’s former home.

He said: “My father clearly couldn’t resist the temptation of painting on his living room wall before it was redecorated. Now we are about to recreate that moment in the house at Beamish.

“Family members are really looking forward to leaving a lasting footprint on the house before it is wallpapered – a unique opportunity for us.

“Seeing our former home at Bishop’s Close Street beginning to take shape was an emotional moment for me and as a family we are delighted that the recreation of our old ‘two up–two down’ colliery house will be part of this new development.

Norman Cornish in front of the Berriman's chip van that featured in a number of his paintings - Beamish Museum restored the van.

“Not only will the house give visitors an insight into the living conditions experienced by thousands of miners’ families in the 1950s, it will also highlight how my father managed to find a way to develop as an artist in a house that afforded such little space.”

She said: “We’re really excited to be launching this activity, which will allow two visitors to create pieces of work directly onto the walls of No. 2 Front Street.

“Sarah, Norman’s wife, told us that Norman could not resist the opportunity to paint the walls of their house before being wallpapered over, we want to do the same in our exhibit.

Some of Norman Cornish's art work at Beamish Museum.

“As well as work created by the Cornish family and members of the community, two visitors will personalise the walls with their own creations, this will then be covered over with 1950s-style wallpaper to match Norman’s house on Bishop’s Close Street.

“You can paint, draw, write or colour something that captures your imagination and inspires you. As Norman was told, ‘paint the world you know’.

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“This is a really unique and wonderful opportunity for visitors to make their mark on the building and create something that will stay at the museum forever."

To enter the ‘Make Your Mark’ activity, you need to send your name, address and age to [email protected] by 11am on Saturday, July 3 – with two winners set to be picked at random.

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