Set up in 1990, Eden Arts was created by Nick Jones, miller and artist. The aim was to improve the quality of life for the people of Eden through culture.
Fun fact: Nick invited a Danish Theatre company over who had an actor follow a man around the market with a fake gun, delighting the crowds but scaring the shopper who didn’t realise he was acting!
...That was back in the 90s, and people think we’re crazy now!
C-Art: WINNER Event of the Year at the 2014 Cumbria Tourism Awards:
Eden Arts: WINNER Arts Organisation of the Year in 2016 Cumbria Life Culture Awards
The Winter Droving: WINNER Star of the Community Award in the Penrith Stars of Business Awards 2015, HIGHLY COMMENDED Cumbria Tourism Awards in 2018, SHORTLISTED for Cumbria Tourism Event of the Year in 2015 and 2016, SHORTLISTED for the Cumbria Life Culture Awards in 2019. Shortlisted: Cumbria Life Culture Awards
Fun Fact: We didn’t think we were going to win the Event of the Year at the 2014 Cumbria Tourism Awards (‘cos art and culture obv). Along with C-Art staffer Jo Leary (now Crompton), we sent staff member Jo Bramley-Wright to the award ceremony who didn’t really know much about the company as she had only just started - one week in she is pictured with an award!
We know this because we survey the attendees and ask them where they are from and how much they spend. The average distance travelled is 31 miles btw.
As part of the Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge in 2017, The BBC visited Penrith on their way from London to Glasgow, where they were met with the largest live TV turnout they had encountered up to that point on their trip.
Fun Fact: Great Asby Cine North venue the youth club members made a fantastic film as a promo for their screening of the new James Bond movie which they filmed in the village dressed as spies.
...showing Withnail and I at Uncle Monty’s, the cottage where it was filmed.
A couple came to a screening all the way from San Francisco as they had been to see W&I in cinema on their first date, and were celebrating their wedding anniversary by seeing the film with Picnic Cinema!
The whole experience, which sells out within minutes (in January, for events which are in the summer! you know, a bit like Glastonbury), includes dressing up, camping, glamping and partying through the night at Sleddale Hall a.k.a Crow Crag.
“we came to this by mistake... Brilliant night”
(and they both said YES!)
In Partnership with the Eden Millennium Committee who wanted the commissioned artist to carve intricate lettering into the stone – By hand. The Committee didn’t realise how hard the 50 tonne block of Shap granite was and letter-cutter Lida Lopes Cardozo soon put them right, leaving a simple design.
£713,000 of work sold & over 105,000 attended the C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition & Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year between 2011 - 2020
“it was the first time I had been recognised as a serious artist in this region, having moved to Cumbria in 2009. As a Anglo-Armenian-Iranian, born in Iran, who came to the UK ages 16, it was a pivotal moment of cultural and professional belonging”.
Karen Babayan, Winner of Eden Art’s C-Art Artist of the Year award
They performed Measure for Measure in Ullswater Community College’s Sports Hall and sold out - local councillors liked it so much they gave director Nick an office, a full-time salary and an assistant.
Fun Fact: Nick didn’t have an office until after the event, so the Bluebell Bookshop gave him a broom cupboard at the back of the shop, where he sat next to the phone and took bookings for the events.
Tours to Lowthermere began on 10th September and saw 2340 visitors descend into the deep for the immersive theatre show that had previously only been seen in the UK once before.
“My favourite was the fake news event that was Lowthermere... an amazing piece of media and visual trickery from Captain Boomer”
Kevin Beaty, Former Leader of Eden District Council
After their gig, Billy and his team which included American duo Ben Sollee/Daniel Martin Moore failed to get away to Glasgow for the next day and the whole lot spent the morning using Ben’s cello case as a toboggan at Arthur’s Table near Penrith.
10 tonnes of sleeping bags and tents were collected after the earthquake in Nepal but then cam the task of having to raise thousands of £s to have them shipped there...
and we host a project called Artist Spare Room where artists apply to spend a week or two with us to explore - well whatever they want really
“My favourite memory would be working as a Young Curator, creating the Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition. It was a great experience creating an exhibition from start to finish, and especially working with an eclectic mix of pieces and working with the space to create a narrative which highlighted each work effectively”. - Marisa Crane, Young Curator, Young Programmer
Our office dog Reggie sadly passed away this summer. Once he wandered over to the neighbouring hospital, lost, and someone took him home. After searching high and low, Eden Arts posted on Facebook to ask where he was and he was successfully reunited with his owner!
As well as the dogs, we’re a child-friendly organisation and current and ex-staff have given birth to 5 children in the last few years, also frequently popping by for a spot of art and culture.
Eden arts staff are all artists first with careers in theatre, dance, visual arts before coming to Eden Arts - which accounts for our creative approach. Even Nykia our latest recruit and largely responsible for the finances is a performer (who used to live in Hollywood) - hopefully she isn't too creative with the accounts...
That's an average of 100 per year!
A couple of years later, the local people raised the money themselves for this to happen every year.
Fun Fact: There were some very unexpectedly entertained people who just happened to be on the steamer getting back to Pooley Bridge after a day out walking in the lakes. They were confronted by seven silver-clad, luminous drummers and their own private performance!
Promoting diversity is about creating a level playing field and ensuring that we all benefit from what everyone has to offer. So obviously we are all for diversity. Without making a tokenistic issue of it we work hard to ensure that our programming is as diverse as possible. We are members of the national Mela Partnership, and have programmed and commissioned diverse artists throughout our projects including Boudicca, K.O.G & the Zongo Brigade, Nutkhut and Lucas Kao in the past 12 months. We work with disability-led organisations such as Unlimited to enable us to show fantastic content at Cine North made my disabled artists.
There were around 20 signs originally and now there are just 15.
Fun Fact: We had an email from Eden District Council detailing a person who was contesting a parking ticket they had received after parking in a bay with a ‘reserved for bullock castration’ sign. The council politely requested we remove the confusing signage, which we did.
Arts Council England nearly cut Eden Arts funding, which would have meant the company would have to close. After a shake-up of the organisation by Adrian Lochhead to secure Arts Council funding at an increased level the next problem was that Eden District Council reduced the local funding in 2012 from £48k to £20k. Despite these challenges the resilient team found new funding streams and are still able to produce amazing projects…
This is as a direct audience member or through participating in our work (and not counting the llama)... that's pretty incredible don't you think!
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