Drawn Together

Northeast England, United Kingdom


Historic Northumbria contains an impressive industrial heritage, fine market towns, and the principal group of early Christian churches in Britain, the context for the production of the internationally important Lindisfarne Gospels. In summer 2013, the gospels were exhibited in Durham at the Palace Green Library, on loan from the British Library. This national focus on the area’s ancient history offered a unique opportunity to encourage visitors to experience the region more broadly, by linking its rich heritage via a series of events held at places where visitors do not arrive in sufficient quantity to stimulate the local economies. The region’s Festival of the North East mobilized an array of public programs with substantial publicity, supported by the Arts Council England, North East.

How We Helped

WMF, supported by The Paul Mellon Estate, hosted Drawn Together as part of the festival. During two weekends in June, the public gathered at Auckland Castle and Hexham Abbey, among the most spectacular historic buildings in the northeast of England, to celebrate their cultural heritage and engage with architecture through artistic endeavors. Four artists-in-residence produced eight works to be auctioned to raise funds needed to perpetuate the program. The artists also provided encouragement for adults and children to create artworks inspired by the iconic architecture of these buildings. A selection of drawings made by the public were displayed at Durham Cathedral. Through Drawn Together, 250,000 visitors to the eighth-century art of the Lindisfarne Gospels on temporary exhibition nearby were able to see the very latest art inspired by the region's heritage.

Why It Matters

Drawn Together inspired family creativity in historic places. Inspiring children’s creativity cultivates care for historic environments. Often, education does not extend to the promotion of an appreciation for the built environment, but young people routinely process their curiosity and understanding of the world through drawing, establishing a basis for lifelong interest.

Last updated: July 2021.

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