Altered arts in rural churches

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Two rural churches will be transformed by contemporary art installations, which will see internationally renowned artists make their mark upon the county.

Dutch documentary filmmaker, director and video artist, Pat Van Boeckel, and award-winning visual artist from London, Emily Tracy, have been commissioned to produce interactive new art work for St Andrews Church, Heckington.

Lincolnshire’s Rhubarb Theatre and Brickbeat Recording Studios will also create a dramatic community production for St Peter’s Church in South Somercotes.

The new commissions are the latest in a series of contemporary artworks created as part of the Altered arts in churches programme - a pioneering partnership initiative between the University of Lincoln’s College of Arts, artsNK, The Diocese of Lincoln and the Churches Conservation Trust.

Pat Van Boekel’s distinctive installation, entitled Entering a New World, is designed to bring the church to life by reconnecting with its community outside. Van Boekel’s video concept will encourage visitors to explore the church as an inspiring historic space, and will project a thought-provoking sequence of films and moving imagery onto the font, choir and balcony.

Screen, designed by Emily Tracy, will also inspire the community to review the church through an immersive experience. The artist will recreate the pre-reformation screen separating the nave and the chancel, bringing back a lost aspect of the church’s architecture and visitor experience. The screen will incorporate the shadows and silhouettes of the church’s visitors, making them an intrinsic part of the installation.

Ahead of Emily’s installation, she will host a rare public talk alongside her father, renowned art historian, Dr Charles Tracy. On Saturday April 27 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, they will provide an exclusive preview of Emily’s artwork, and invite the local community to explore the architecture of the 14th century parish church, exposing the legends behind the church furnishings central to her display.

The duo of site specific public art installations will then be on show at St Andrews Church in Heckington on May 4 to 5 and Saturday May 11 to 12 respectively.

Lincoln’s Rhubarb Theatre and Brickbeat Recording Studios have also been selected to create an innovative community-focused production at St Peter’s Church in South Somercotes, entitled The Queen of the Marsh. The partnership will host a series of dramatic development workshops throughout April and May, creating an audio and visual journey of discovery through the history, myths and legends of the Somercotes district.

The group’s work will then be brought to life through dynamic live theatre events within the church on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May, when the church will also host a community picnic.

Altered has been funded by Arts Council England and Lincolnshire County Council to provide more people with an opportunity to experience great art and develop an arts programme that can improve the quality of life and local economy in the county.