Lumiere set to return in 2021.

The internationally-acclaimed light festival is planning its return to Durham City.

Commissioned by Durham County Council, and produced by Artichoke, the festival is set to be a guiding light for the North East’s pandemic recovery.

And local businesses can play a key part in the festivities.

The Foundation is opening a £50,000 pot and offering to add 50p to every pound of sponsorship put forward by businesses, organisations and charitable trusts to support the community projects around the festival.

Help communities recover

Chief executive Michelle Cooper said: “This is a chance to boost our local economy, give people something to look forward to, and help our communities recover from the battering they’ve been through.

“The festival has become a financial and cultural powerhouse for the city and we urge local businesses to grab this opportunity with both hands.”

Sarah Coop, Development Director at Artichoke said: “We are delighted that County Durham Community Fund has been so generous in their support for Lumiere 2021. We know the impact that our community projects have as part of the festival programme, and they will be even more important this year in helping to build community confidence and resilience.”

Laurel Avenue

Claire Linfoot, from Laurel Avenue Community Association, took 12 children along from the Association’s centre in Sherburn to play their compositions on the Keys of Light by Mr.Beam artwork last year. In the months leading up to the festival, each child took part in keyboard lessons sponsored by believe housing.

Claire said: “After the children took turns performing at the festival, they went round with their families, and I don’t think that would have happened otherwise. Lumiere is so important for the city but there are local people who live a mile from the city centre who just don’t think it’s for them and projects like this help to change that. It was really special.

“Our children were treated like gold. I know they were because they kept coming back to learn.  We’ve had people want to work with us before and sometimes I’m sceptical that they just want to take a photo and leave – but this was totally different.

New experience

“The musician came for the first session and our children had never played before and didn’t know how to read music. I thought Artichoke would decide to knock it on the head and find another group, but they didn’t. The teacher came back the next week with a totally different approach and taught the children how to make their own music so that it didn’t matter if they had previous experience or not.”

Community Investment Manager at believe housing, Rachel Edmunds, said: “Lumiere is an event that stirs creative energy among so many. It was great to be able to help the young people at Laurel Avenue pick up some new creative skills too. Experiences like this stay with children for their entire lives and help to shape their aspirations.

“We’ve been keen supporters of Lumiere and the creative community work that the festival does for several years and we’re looking forward to continuing that.”

To find out more about sponsoring community workshops, email [email protected]

North East Times article here.