Visionaries aiming to regenerate Rotherham through art and culture welcomed the chair of Arts Council England to the town in October.
Sir Nicholas Serota visited the town centre’s Camellia sculpture and Grade I listed architectural masterpiece Wentworth Woodhouse for the launch of the Preservation Trust’s Cultural Strategy.
As it works to save the site from decline, the Trust is on a mission to turn Wentworth Woodhouse into a creative, contemporary cultural hub for the North.
Plans include playing a key role in Rotherham’s Children’s Capital of Culture 2025 events, a project to turn the State Rooms into a major international gallery space, developing interactive learning experiences and an education facility.
Sir Nicholas Serota toured Wentworth Woodhouse’s State Rooms and learned about the talent being fostered locally.
Creative People and Places programme FLUX Rotherham staged performances by violinist Abigail Germany and singer-songwriter Kier Burke.
Young people who developed film-making skills on a Wentworth Woodhouse Creative Producers programme, part of a Rotherham Children’s Capital of Culture project, talked about how it had enriched their lives.
ArtWorks South Yorkshire, which works with adults with learning difficulties, staged an art workshop and the event showcased films created by the Trust’s Digital Volunteers and Barnsley ballet dancer Tala Lee Turton.
Sir Nicholas also visited the town’s All Saints’ Square to view its recently-erected contemporary steel sculpture Camellia, by internationally renowned artist James Capper.
Commissioned by local arts organisation Gallery Town to celebrate Rotherham’s industrial engineering heritage, the artwork is over eight metres tall and features moving parts.
Sir Nick met four of the young apprentices who fabricated and constructed it – Alex Medlock, Lewis Clerkson, Ross Doyle and Warren Smith. They work for Rotherham manufacturer MTL Advanced Ltd, which sponsored the project with £25,000 of labour, materials and resources.
Camellia, which will eventually stand at Forge Island, was inspired by the historic camellias at Wentworth Woodhouse’s Camellia House.