Installation of new permanent light work marks return of Lumiere light festival to Durham

November 11, 2016 | Community News

The dates for the next Lumiere festival have been announced. Produced by leading arts charity Artichoke and commissioned by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England, the UK’s largest outdoor light festival will return to illuminate Durham for the fifth time next year, Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th November 2017.

Lumiere has become a landmark event in the cultural calendar of the North East and is recognised around the world as a “must-see” on the international light festival circuit.

The free-to-attend festival attracted an estimated 200,000 visitors to Durham in 2015, making a regional economic impact calculated at £9.6 million and delivering an extraordinary return on investment for Durham County Council.

Artichoke has already raised £1.6m towards the cost of the festival, including £600,000 from commissioners Durham County Council and £500,000 from Arts Council England. The arts charity is now working to fundraise the additional £400,000 needed to ensure the festival shines as bright as ever in 2017. Past supporters have included Atom Bank, Northumbrian Water, Sevcon and theBanks Group.

The Banks Group are adding to the Durham landscape for a second time with a permanent reminder of Lumiere 2015. Lightbench by Bernd Spiecker for LBO-Lichtbankobjekte (Germany) is now installed in the new Freeman’s Quay development. It joins Tobie Langel’s witty and unusual civic clock, Helvetictoc, which is sited on the wall above the city’s Library and was the Banks Group’s first permanent Lumiere gift to the Durham community.

Helen Marriage, Director of Artichoke said

“Coming back to Durham to start the planning for Lumiere always feels like coming home. The unstinting support we’ve had from the Council and regular supporters like the Banks Group over the years has been second to none.

“This amazing free event has developed its worldwide reputation only because local and regional businesses, organisations and individuals recognise its value and contribute to making it happen. The festival is made with and for its community.

“While Lumiere is a momentary transformation of the city, our aspiration is always that there should be something of the festival that lives on. Whether that’s the skills, training, knowledge, aspiration and ambition that we build on each year, or a growing collection of permanent artworks for Durham, we work to make Durham truly into a place of light”.

Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Simon Henig, said: “We are tremendously proud that Durham is the birthplace of Lumiere and of our association with such a world-class event.

“The fact we are welcoming back a fifth edition is testament to the public’s love for Lumiere as well as its phenomenal track record in delivering tangible economic benefits.

“The community outreach programme also touches the lives of hundreds of people across the county who may not otherwise have the chance to work with professional artists. In 2015 alone, 860 children and young people and more than 500 adults played a part.

“Lumiere also puts a smile on people’s faces and you cannot put a price on that.”

Mark Dowdall, Environment and Community Director at the Banks Group said: “In the year that we celebrate 40 years of business in County Durham, we are delighted to provide support for Lumiere once again through the Banks Community Fund.

“We aim to support projects that make a lasting contribution to the life of people in the communities that host our developments and the two new Lightbenches set overlooking the River Wear join our previous work of Helvetictoc to continue the legacy of public art in Durham.”

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