Call out to Cumbrian Artists

Project: To create an interactive response for a forthcoming Exhibition in the Gallery at Rheged, Penrith.
Exhibition: Through the Locking Glass – Cumbria Creatives Respond to Lockdown (25 June – 9 September 2021)
Commission Fee: £3000 for the successful proposal
Proposal Deadline: 30 April 2021
Selection: 5 May 2021

Rheged is a vibrant arts hub with an award-winning gallery, just off the M6 at Penrith.

Find out more about Rheged and our Gallery here.

Through the Locking Glass – Cumbria Creatives Respond to Lockdown’ Exhibition

This multi-disciplinary exhibition will mark the end of the lockdowns by celebrating the creativity diversity and excellence of 80 Cumbrian artists and create a unique record of this time. The exhibition of artwork will be selected against the criteria of artistic merit, an inspiring approach and an engaging story. The Exhibition will be supported by journalist style film Interviews, sound installations, succinct written interpretation focused on the artists’ inspiration to help make this exhibition accessible.

Commission Purpose

To produce an interactive artistic piece that encourages audiences to respond to the exhibition by sharing their own experiences of lockdown and the extraordinary times of 2020/21. The piece will be installed in advance of the exhibition launch on 24 June and will be in situ for the duration of the exhibition. We are looking for proposals that are intriguing, high quality, respectful to the theme, engaging, inclusive and surprising. We are very happy to consider proposals across all artforms, including collaborations.  The commission must have wide appeal and in particular, the ability to engage a family audience as this exhibition will be open daily throughout the Summer holidays.

Selection Process:  A representative selection panel from Cumbria of both experienced practitioners and young and emerging artists including Prism Arts, University of Cumbria, Eden Arts and Anti Racist Cumbria will select the work for the exhibition. This panel will also select the successful proposal for this new large interactive artwork (Commission), which will collect visitors’ lockdown stories.

Commission Fee: £3,000

We want artists to consider:

  • How to engage audiences in creating and sharing their stories of lockdown
  • How to make the work accessible to everyone
  • How to record the work as it evolves over the period of the exhibition, respecting the individual stories and contributions.
  • How to celebrate and share the outcome from the piece
  • How to launch the work and whether you can incorporate moments over the exhibition period where you offer workshops or opportunities to meet the artists.
  • How the work needs to be maintained over the period of the exhibition.  NOTE: The work has to be robust over the period of the exhibition and only require a light touch in terms of gallery staff intervention.
  • The proposal must address health and safety standards and will need to be risk assessed.

Additional Workshops or work for sale:

If you have additional ideas for workshops, or work that could be included in our shop please list these with separate costs in the case of workshops. We would look at marketing these alongside the exhibition, but they would be charged for separately.

Who can apply:  

We welcome proposals from all artists, both experienced and emerging in their practice.  We particularly want to commission artists who live in the county or who have a connection to Cumbria. We are particularly interested in collaborations and partnerships. This might include an application from an organisation on behalf of artists as well as from individuals.

How to Apply:

  1. We would like a short filmed, recorded, or written proposal with visuals.  Outlining:
    • What you want to do, your vision for the work
    • How you aim to engage people to produce a response to the theme of the exhibition as part of their visit
    • How you plan to produce and build the work in advance of the launch.
    • How the work is monitored and manged over the life of the exhibition
    • What you can offer in terms of opening night, workshops – opportunities to meet the artist.
  2. Costs: We need to see a breakdown of costs and budget to include materials, equipment, making time, installation, de-installing and maintaining and recording the work during the period of the exhibition.
  3. Tell us about your practice and experience: A reference or evidence of track record (written, recorded, or filmed) or a CV.
  4. The opportunity is open to all, so advise us if you have any additional access or support needs.

Timeline and application process:

  • Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2021 to
  • Notification of success: 5 May 2021
  • Installation: week beginning: 17 June 2021
  • Exhibition Launch: 24 June Private View.  Open to the public from 25 June

The space and installation:  

  1. Space available in the gallery:

Please see Gallery Plan in our gallery positioning document (link in the opening information about Rheged): 4 metres by 3 metres and free standing

2. There are also spaces within the venue. 

A plan of the site is in the document mentioned above, with available spaces outlined.  If you wish to develop a proposal where the work is installed outside the exhibition space, we need to know how the work is to be maintained and secured. (Staff capacity) and we are also interested in how the work will not only engage audiences – but also encourage them to visit the exhibition.

3. Available resources:

  • Rheged can support some installation costs in terms of staff support. 
  • The proposal will need to include any budget for equipment or hire costs of any specialist equipment.

If you have any specific questions – please email