Art and the Canal & River Trust
Commemorative lock gates; the first ever ‘Canal Poet Laureate’; a ‘Slow Boat’ of artists and a mysterious ‘floating forest’ make up some of the unusual projects included in a contemporary art programme for the Canal & River Trust.
The projects are part of a wider initiative by the Canal & River Trust, working in partnership with Arts Council England, to draw new supporters to the waterways' cause. With more supporters, the canals and rivers have a better chance of flourishing for the next 200 years. However, in today's world it is increasingly difficult to grab people's attention. And so over the last few months our slow-flowing, historic canals have seen an explosion of contemporary dance, water-based opera, comedy and a poignant floating forest.
Tony Hales, chairman of the Canal & River Trust explains:
"One of the ways we looking to attract new supporters is through new partnerships with the Arts Councils in England and Wales. In England this is part of a wider Arts Council-led initiative to promote ‘great art for everyone’. For the Canal & River Trust, this is also about finding creative new ways to introduce more people to the waterways as visitors and supporters while also, we hope, surprising and delighting existing communities."
The initiative is inspired by early waterway pioneers such as Robert Aickman and LTC Rolt of the Inland Waterways Association, who used their artistic and literary connections to win new supporters to the waterway cause in the 20th century.
Over the coming months the Canal & River Trust will deliver a series of contemporary art projects, support a range of high quality 3rd party arts events and support others wishing to develop arts projects on the waterways.
The Canal & River Trust is part of a strategic network of organisations, including the National Trust, Forestry Commission and Sustrans, who are working with the Arts Council England to incorporate contemporary art into their work, leverage in third party funds and attract more visitors.
Read Richard Fairhurt's artice, Britain's longest art gallery, which explores the historic relationship between art and the waterways.