This summer, Beamish — The Living Museum of the North — is giving you the unique chance to create a piece of work to go on the walls of a new exhibit.
The exhibit is part of the museum’s Remaking Beamish project and will tell the story of the Spennymoor Settlement of artists, writers and poets. And it will be based on the former home of celebrated artist Norman Cornish.
How to enter ‘Make Your Mark’
This new Make Your Mark activity will see two people selected to creatively contribute to the walls in No. 2 Front Street on Beamish’s 1950s terrace. It’s inspired by Norman, who used the freshly-stripped walls of his family home as a giant canvas before they were covered in wallpaper.
The exhibition will feature work created by the Cornish family and members of the community, plus the two lucky winners who will personalise the walls with their own creations. The creations will then be covered over with 1950s-style wallpaper to match Norman’s original house.
So, what can you create? Well, you can paint, draw, write or colour anything that captures your imagination and inspires you. It’s a unique and cheeky opportunity to make your own mark on the building and be a part of the museum forever. How cool is that?
So, how do you enter? You just need to send your name, address and age to email@example.com by 11am on 3rd July. Then, two people will be picked at random to personalise the walls of this new museum exhibit.
The names will be drawn from a Beamish costume hat. And the winners will attend the museum on 16th July to create their piece on the walls. The work will be recorded in Beamish’s photo archive, so everyone can see it. But don’t worry if you don’t get picked as the Making Your Mark activity will involve everyone. And you’ll still be able to submit a creative piece of work for display in Beamish’s 1950s Town. So, everyone can see it when they visit.
Norman the artist and the new exhibition
No. 2 Front Street is a recreation of 33 Bishop’s Close Street in Spennymoor, County Durham. Which is where artist Norman Cornish lived for most of the 1950s. He lived there with his wife Sarah and their two children, Ann and John.
Norman worked in a local colliery from the age of 14, until 1966 when he became a full-time artist. His paintings captured everyday life on the street. So, this house will give visitors an insight into the living conditions of miners’ families in the 1950s, and show how Norman managed to develop as an artist in a house with so little space.
This new exhibit will be part of Beamish’s 1950s Town. And it’s due to open next year, sharing the story of the Cornish family. The exhibit at Beamish will share stories of Spennymoor during the decade, including the Spennymoor Settlement, which Norman joined on his 15th birthday.
The Spennymoor Settlement was part of a wider national movement and nurtured the talents of artists Norman Cornish, Tom McGuinness, Bob Heslop and Bert Dees, and playwright Sid Chaplin amongst others. It provided free classes and community groups, and was an outlet for creativity in an area affected by unemployment and poverty.
About the Beamish project
No. 2 Front Street will have an accessible art space, inspired by the Spennymoor Settlement. So, community and learning groups will be able to use this space. Some of the items from Norman’s home and studio, which have been donated to the museum, will be on display too.
The house is part of the Remaking Beamish project, which is the biggest development ever seen at the museum. It includes the 1950s Town as well as a 1950s Farm and the expansion of The 1820s Landscape.
The Norman Cornish-inspired exhibit will form part of a 1950s terrace, which will also feature a hairdresser’s shop and a fish and chip shop. The museum has a Remaking Beamish blog to, so you can keep up to date on the project if you fancy.
And if you’re taking part in the Beamish Make Your Mark competition, good luck!
Looking for more stuff to keep you entertained over the summer? We’ve got more ideas on our homepage for you!