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 brand-new Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories both situated in Bowness. Abbot Hall and Blackwell are Grade 1 Listed Buildings and Windermere Jetty is one of the first contemporary buildings to be constructed on the shores of Windermere in over 50 years.
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 Lucian Freud, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Caulfield, Graham Sutherland, Lynn Chadwick, JMW Turner, Francis Bacon, Paula Rego, Richard Long, RB Kitaj and LS Lowry.
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 has developed Windermere Jetty as a world-class museum and tourist attraction. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, the new facilities include exhibition galleries displaying the exceptional internationally important 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. There is an active conservation workshop which can be viewed by visitors, a boathouse where boats can be experienced in their natural setting – on the water, a learning centre and café with stunning views of the lake. There's a real emphasis on connecting the people, boats and water together, as well as a re-interpretation of the site’s industrial and picturesque heritage.
Windermere Jetty opened 23 March 2019. The Heritage Lottery Fund has been the principal funder, with the DCMS Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, Regional Growth Fund, RDPE and South Lakeland District Council, trusts and foundations and other private donors supporting the project.
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 wellbeing, 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.
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.
- © Flo Acland