Family walking towards Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal, one of Lakeland Arts' visitor attractions

About Us

Lakeland Arts is one of the most significant arts and heritage organisations in the North of England with a national and international reputation for the quality of its historic buildings, museum and gallery collections and programming. It has a diverse portfolio of attractions: Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in Kendal, Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House and the new Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats Steam and Stories in Bowness-on-Windermere. Abbot Hall and Blackwell are Grade 1 Listed Buildings. Reknowned for award winning exhibitions, Lakeland Arts also offers fantastic opportunities for learning and development, as well as activities for children and families. 

Abbot Hall, which opened in 1962, is a nationally significant art gallery with outstanding collections.  It has one of the strongest exhibition programmes outside London and artists exhibited recently include Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Caulfield, Graham Sutherland, Lynn Chadwick, JMW Turner, Francis Bacon, Paula Rego, Richard Long, RB Kitaj and LS Lowry.

The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry is housed in the coach house and stable block at Abbot Hall and displays an important and extensive collection relating to the social and industrial history of the Lake District and Kendal.

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House opened in 2001 following the purchase and restoration by Lakeland Arts working with architects Allies and Morrison. The £3.5 million project received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, charitable trusts and many private donors. Blackwell is architect MH Baillie Scott’s greatest house and retains most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for historical and contemporary craft and exhibitions have included the work of Magdalene Odundo, Edmund de Waal, Junko Mori, William Morris, CFA Voysey, Michael Cardew and Bernard Leach.

Lakeland Arts is developing Windermere Jetty as a world-class museum and tourist attraction. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, the new facilities will include exhibition galleries displaying the exceptional collection of steam boats and other historic craft, which are all associated with Windermere, and tell the stories of the people who built, owned and used the boats. Windermere Jetty will have an active, publicly viewable conservation workshop, boathouse with boats on the water, learning centre and excellent café and visitor facilities on a stunning site beside Windermere.

Lakeland Arts has secured a grant of £12.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has raised over £3 million match funding from the Regional Growth Fund, South Lakeland District Council, trusts, corporate sector and individuals. Lakeland Arts is seeking to secure a further £250,000 to complete the funding. Windermere Jetty is due to open in 2017.

Lakeland Arts’ learning and activity programme focuses on developing access to the collections and engaging local people and visitors to Kendal and the Lake District. The programme includes creative workshops, lectures, events, family activities and concerts and involves working with schools, colleges, community groups and other agencies. Some of the work with the greatest impact is supporting health and well being, for example for people living with dementia and where collections and activities are taken into local communities.

Our strategy over the next few years is to grow Lakeland Arts significantly by opening Windermere Jetty as a world-class visitor attraction. We will improve the quality and variety of our artistic, heritage and learning programmes and build existing and new audiences. We will create rewarding experiences for all our visitors and users.  We will make Lakeland Arts more resilient by strengthening our business model, improving marketing and broadening fundraising. We will invest in developing our workforce and the organisation’s leadership.

Martin Ainscough
Chairman

Gordon Watson
Chief Executive

Lakeland Arts is a company limited by guarantee which is registered in England and Wales with company number 8162578 and a registered charity, registration number 1153001.

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