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Making Art HAPPEN for Mid Bedfordshire

In 2006, HAPPEN worked alongside Mid Beds District Council (MBDC), providing specialist advice resulting in the commissioning of an exciting 3D wall-based artwork for its new headquarters at Chicksands, Bedfordshire. The artwork, entitled "Lines of Sight", was realised by highly regarded artist Catherine Baker, in collaboration with local children and MBDC staff. The £10,000 cost of the project had been allocated from construction budgets as one of the planning conditions for the building, not from council tax revenues.

Catherine Baker lives in Bedford and is one of the countyís leading artists. She trained at Central St Martin's College of Art & Design in Painting and completed an MA Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art. She is currently a senior lecturer at Norwich School of Art and Design and has a longstanding association with the University of Luton. Catherineís work has been exhibited by galleries in Melbourne, Brussels, Cambridge and Llandudno, amongst others, and her work also features in private collections worldwide. Awarded a research and development grant by the Arts Council in 2005, Catherine was also selected for inclusion in the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2005/06.

About the Artwork

Catherineís piece for Mid Beds is made up of 27 square panels, each measuring approximately 60cm. There is scope for these panels to be rearranged in a variety of different configurations thus creating an artwork which is constantly changing. The images themselves were created from tracking the eye movements that are made when looking at drawings or photographs. In this instance, Catherine recorded how project participants related to photographs taken during the construction of the Chicksands building.

Workshops with three local schools and Mid Beds staff took place in March 2006 and involved two local artists from HAPPENís Artist Development Programme (ADP). The artists in question, Gemma Hutton and Sonia Almeida, assisted Catherine during sessions with young people from Samuel Whitbread Upper School (Shefford), Campton Lower School (Campton), and Robert Bloomfield Middleschool (Shefford).

A Percent for Art

Cllr. Anita Lewis, Mid Beds Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Cultural said: "Mid Beds is committed, both as a planning condition and under the percentage for art scheme."

The final artwork was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during a formal visit to the new facility on the 17th November 2006.

Click here to download more images and information on the project.

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