Barnsley Bright Nights set to help local artists impacted by pandemic

Artists will come together to create Barnsley’s Winter Windowland featuring UK exclusive

A dozen local artists and groups impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will come together as part of Barnsley Bright Nights, to help create Barnsley’s very own Winter Windowland in the town centre – which will include a UK exclusive.

The culture sector has taken a significant hit in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic, leaving many artists struggling for work, with few opportunities to exhibit their skills.

But the return of Barnsley Bright Nights – Barnsley Council’s annual winter event – and Barnsley’s first Winter Windowland – set to light up the town centre between 10 December and 10 January – means 12 local artists and groups will be given a platform to showcase their talents.

Barnsley College will welcome a UK exclusive from Yorkshire-born Canadian resident Sam Meech.

The Moon Is will feature a giant projected moon, with words appearing on the surface that describe it in new ways. You can contribute your own metaphors for the moon by using the hashtag #TheMoonIs on Twitter.  

Screen Poem is a generative micro poetry installation, with six screens displaying a series of short poems using words of six letters or fewer on each line. Passers-by create ripples in the text, and you can submit your own micro poems by using the hashtag #ScreenPoem on Twitter. 

The Moon Is will be shown at Barnsley Sixth Form College, with Screen Poem on display at the Old Mill Lane Campus. 

At Barnsley Town Hall, Shaun Collins will bring The Lights of Christmas – set to light up the centre of the building with an illuminating show.

On Eldon Street, the former entrance to The Civic will be brought to life with a series of bespoke Peter Pan themed shadow artwork. The show is courtesy of Sophia Lovell Smith and Full House Theatre, who were due to perform their Little Darling one-man show at The Civic this Christmas.

The show will be supported by funding from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, set to revitalise buildings on Eldon Street over the next four years.

At 18 Regent Street, shoppers will be able to see a neon light installation created in a collaboration between Barnsley poet, playwright and broadcaster Ian McMillan, and artist and designer Patrick Murphy. The piece is part of the Words of Resilience project, that aims to create a series of text artwork that helps provide moments of poetic reflection during the pandemic. 

Fly with the flock! - the popular exhibition held recently at Wentworth Woodhouse – will be reimagined in the windows of The Barnsley Chronicle on Church Street. Each wooden bird is a symbol of freedom, and marks how people pulled together in the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Glass Works is taking part, too. A new vinyl artwork by Lenny and Whale, designed specifically for the side windows of Library @ the Lightbox, can be viewed in the day - but transforms into a glowing night-time spectacle after dark. Look out for the Glass Works tower on Cheapside lighting up too.

At Wellington House, Crown of Lights by 52nd Street Event Solutions will see the top floor of the building come to life with a series of colourful festive lights shining a halo around the building.

And finally, Cooper Gallery, Experience Barnsley, Frank Bird, Globe Holidays, Express Computers, Leslie Frances Hairdressing and Parkway Cinema will all host Illuminature by local community arts group Responsible Fishing.


Illuminature will see windows displaying artwork featuring winter and nature themes, as well as local landmarks from across Barnsley.  The project is also supported with funding from the HSHAZ programme.

Look out for extra lights on St Mary’s Church and the old IT Services building on the corner of Westgate to help bring Barnsley town centre to life at night this Christmas.

Residents are encouraged to light up their homes as part of Winter Windowland and send in photos and videos for Barnsley’s first ever digital Christmas card.

Download the Barnsley Bright Nights activity pack, get crafty and submit your entries to eventplanning@barnsley.gov.uk. The best entries will receive Barnsley Gift Cards available to spend at over 50 shops and restaurants across the borough, including M&S, Boots, The Entertainer, stalls on Barnsley Market and in Market Kitchen.

Not feeling crafty? Submit other festive videos including your Christmas karaoke attempts and Christmas messages for Barnsley. If you’ve already got decorations up, we want to see those, too!

For more information about Barnsley this Christmas visit our event's pages.

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