Barnsley Libraries continue to bring art and cultural activities to our communities

The final creative commission, Bee Kind, has started its tour across Barnsley Libraries’ branches today. Bee Kind is a visual and performance art collaboration for early years children and their families, which will run across the borough until Thursday 28 March.

Last year, as part of the National Portfolio Organisation status and funding, Barnsley Libraries announced a list of creative commissions committed to bringing more art and culture than ever before across its branches. Two Creative Residencies and eight Micro Commissions have been selected by the National Portfolio Organisation Steering Group, all of which so far were well received and attended.

Bee Kind tells the tale of Billy the busy bee from Barnsley. The artists Natasha Clarke and Stevie Cairns are using puppetry, bespoke sets, and classical music to engage young children, aiming to not only give children the experience of a live art performance but also to inform children about the importance of health and wellbeing by including a focus on being kind to yourself, others, and the natural environment. A total of 16 performances planned are accessible and inclusive and will be followed by a stay-and-play art activity aimed at under 5s.

Anna Hartley, Executive Director for Public Health and Communities, said: “The reception to Barnsley Libraries creative commissions has been fantastic and it was great to see many people attending events and getting involved with activities.

“Barnsley Libraries remain committed to continue bringing art and culture to our residents and visitors and we cannot wait to share the new programme of events very soon.”

We’ve seen a huge interest in Bee Kind performances and while many locations have already been fully booked, there are still some places available at others - for dates, times, and locations, please visit

The previous Creative Residency was delivered by artist and illustrator Beka H. Bookends is an installation of fifteen interactive scenes, that have been hidden amongst the books at Library @ the Lightbox. Created together with students from Barnsley College, the Feels Like Home group and other residents, each bookend box contains an interactive illustration, based on the local area, local people and local landmarks.

Bookends installation is now on display at Library @ the Lightbox and everyone is invited to try and find them all.

The creative commissions are supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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