ArtHouse Jersey has declared Skipton Big Ideas an ‘overwhelming success’, with overall attendance figures of over 7,600 people.
The art exhibition, thought to be the largest of its kind ever to be held in Jersey, welcomed a steady stream of visitors through the doors of the St Helier Town Church over a three-week period, with many others attending workshops and lectures that took the conversation further by exploring the event’s three themes in an educational setting.
Tickets for each event slot for both The Walking Gallery and The Sound of Colour (the latter sponsored by Bedell Cristin and UBS) completely sold out ahead of their respective opening nights.
The arts charity say that they fully expect the overall engagement figure to increase by thousands in the coming months, particularly upon the release of their virtual tour version of the exhibition which is due to be published before the year end to their website.
Created in partnership with Snap Design & Digital, the virtual tour offering will allow people at home to take a full virtual exhibition tour of the Town Church and explore the artworks close up through their screens at home
Sam Bullock, Creative Director/Founder of Snap Design & Digital told Channel Eye: “To take part in such an inspiring exhibition like Big Ideas has been amazing. We had the opportunity to collaborate with some fantastic artists in developing a bespoke Augmented Reality App and later the Virtual Tour. The app itself enabled us to push the technological boundaries to our everyday work and we were delighted to create a lasting experience to make the artwork more accessible to more people, in and beyond Jersey”.
Since 1st October 2021 people have interacted with Skipton Big Ideas content on social media around 16k times, with exhibition related content being viewed 697k times, largely thanks to enthusiastic sharing of ArtHouse Jersey’s capture and content throughout the show’s open period.
Skipton Big Ideas was designed from its inception to focus on accessibility, as one of the three themes, and a central plank of this was outreach into the local community.
A key objective was to reduce barriers, making the exhibition something that everyone in Jersey could enjoy, whether they consider themself an art lover or just want to come and see something interesting and different.
Fundamental to this was ensuring that socio-economic barriers were eliminated and to this end the support of the Jersey Community Foundation (using funds from the Channel Island Lottery) was instrumental, their funding meaning that Skipton Big Ideas was free for everyone.
Elsewhere, to help ensure accessibility, ArtHouse Jersey worked closely with partner organisations including Enable, Mencap, Brighter Futures, Autism Jersey and Eye Can, with dedicated opportunities scheduled for their clients to ensure that they were able to visit in a conducive environment with support staff on hand. These opportunities were embraced and enjoyed by many people and their carers.
An artistic achievement to be proud of
Over 100 people from the creative sector contributed to Skipton Big Ideas, from artists to designers, architects to performers. ArtHouse Jersey insists there is a wealth of artistic talent here and Skipton Big Ideas has reminded Islanders that they can be proud of what Jersey is capable of producing.
This exhibition was a huge undertaking, coming in at an overall cost of £175k, with the production timeline spanning nearly two years. The response to it has been fantastic with feedback being overwhelmingly positive. This response clearly demonstrates to ArtHouse Jersey that local audiences are hungry for high-quality, ambitious productions and we will seek to continue to programme events and exhibitions that feed that desire in the months and years ahead.
Jim Coupe, Managing Director of Skipton International: “Skipton has enjoyed a long relationship with the arts community in Jersey – it’s a fantastic medium with which to unite people, and we are proud sponsors of Skipton Big Ideas. We are hugely proud of our involvement with the talented team at ArtHouse Jersey for bringing such ambitious projects to life, making Jersey a brighter and more vibrant place for us all to enjoy.”
Director of ArtHouse Jersey, Tom Dingle: “As an arts organisation we’re passionate about delivering projects that make a positive difference to people’s lives. Since we went into lockdown our team have missed the ability to engage with the public and with Skipton Big Ideas being postponed from 2020 it was over two years in the making.
“To deliver something of this magnitude to such a fantastic response is exactly what we were hoping for. It hasn’t been easy, but the team thrived under the pressure and there’s a great deal of satisfaction at having put together something that’s resonated so positively with the local community. The success of this ambitious exhibition also helps us celebrate our longest standing sponsor relationship with Skipton International. Together we’re already planning our 2022 collaboration, one which will add a whole different dimension to what we can be proud of in our community in the context of the arts.”