As part of its tenth anniversary year The Lights has embarked on an ambitious arts project to encourage Andover communities to engage with public art at the venue. The project will take place throughout 2016 and culminate towards the anniversary in the autumn.
Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England The Lights has secured a substantial grant of £40,000 to support the project.
There are three commissions planned which will aim to develop new audiences through participatory activities, build new relationships with arts organisations and artists and create opportunities for both experienced and emerging artists in the borough.
The Urban Realm will be a new public art commission to connect The Lights with Andover town centre in the form of creative signage and lighting. In a second strand, the landmark artwork outside The Lights will be re-energised. The Light Tree was originally commissioned in 2006 – a ten metre tall sculpture which has five branches, each ending in an elliptical projection disc where media can be shown. Artists will be commissioned to create participatory community workshops and activities to devise new media for projection.
Also commissioned in 2006 the venue is home to a series of Moon Language signs. Created in partnership with artist Caroline Cardus and residents of Enham Trust, a leading disability charity in Hampshire, the Moon Language trail is a series of visual and tactile signs which are based on symbols known to deaf and blind people, helping them to navigate around the building. Drawing on the Moon Language trail as inspiration, The Lights is planning to develop a creative learning programme that will focus on bringing together disabled and non-disabled people through dance. The venue will work with Stopgap Dance Company, who are part of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio scheme, and who will involve local schools and will devise a piece of work for public performance.
Test Valley Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community and Leisure Services, Councillor Tony Ward said: “It is an exciting year for The Lights as they celebrate ten years as a successful theatre and community venue for Test Valley. To secure Arts Council England funding for such a large sum of money is a fantastic achievement. This additional funding will allow The Lights to further their work to integrate local communities and the arts more closely.”
The Lights has sought to connect the public art programme with the tenth anniversary milestone as a way to build new relationships with people who may be new to the town or the venue. The aim of the project is to reflect on public art and how people currently interact with it and the venue, and then creatively look ahead to increase opportunities for people to visit, experience and be inspired by the arts.