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The Reader and dot-art Announce New Partnership

Written by Rachael Norris, 20th November 2019

The Reader, which in September re-opened the Mansion House in Calderstones Park after a multi-million pound refurbishment project, has announced a new partnership with local art organisation dot-art, who will be delivering a range of activities including art classes, community workshops and a curated programme of exhibitions within the Mansion.

The Reader, a national charity championing the value and benefits of literature and Shared Reading, is bringing a wide range of activities to its Calderstones base, including a visual art programme. By teaming up with dot-art, a fellow social enterprise that has been operating in Liverpool for 13 years, The Reader will be able to offer visitors lots of ways to engage with art, all led by local creatives.

From January 2020, building on their successful partnerships with Bluecoat and many others, dot-art will be running a series of art classes and workshops, all with a link to either literature or the stunning setting of Calderstones Park. Embark on a 10 week Photographic Adventures in Nature course, trying your hand at a range of analogue photography techniques, or an evening course in Textile Arts, creating a range of nature based items using felting, stitching, sewing and printing. Three day courses will take place at weekends in Illustrating a Short Story and Organic Pattern Design, and one day workshops include Walking Drawing: Mindfulness and Observation. For younger artists, the dot-art Club will offer drawing sessions for 10 to 13 year olds in half term blocks, after school on a Wednesday. For more details please see

Call for Exhibition Proposals:

Another exciting addition to The Reader offering is Art in the Mansion. dot-art will curate a rolling programme of exhibitions of local artists’ work within the public areas of the Grade II listed Mansion House, with all art available to buy through the shop. This will complement the existing, highly successful exhibition programme in The Reader Gallery in the stable block; attracting a different audience, as artists will not need to staff their exhibitions.

Art in the Mansion will launch with a special Christmas exhibition, with artists invited to submit proposals by THURSDAY 28th NOVEMBER to exhibit between 9th December and 5th January. Submissions are also invited for exhibitions in the first quarter of 2020.

Application process:

  • Artists / groups are invited to read full details and complete a form here: where they will be asked to submit examples of work and an exhibition proposal, as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice of dates and required number of weeks.
  • Exhibitions will last a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 6 weeks.
  • This will be a rolling process, with applications reviewed every quarter.
  • Artists do not need to be dot art members to apply.

Ailsa Horne, Director of Calderstones and Commercial at the Reader said:

“We’re really excited about this partnership, which will continue to build on our already-successful Gallery that showcases the work of local artists. It’s great to see the Mansion House alive with so much activity – from weekly Shared Reading groups, as well as new, volunteer-led knitting, yoga and gardening activities. Art will be a brilliant addition to our weekly offer.”

Lucy Byrne, Managing Director of dot-art added:

“I have been a huge admirer of the work of The Reader for many years, so am really delighted to be working with them at their wonderful new home in Calderstones Park. Like The Reader, dot-art is an entrepreneurial organisation with social goals and the support of communities at its heart and we believe this partnership aligns perfectly with our values and stated aim to enable everyone to enrich their lives through art.”

The Reader at Calderstones programme of events and activities is backed by a number of supporters including The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and The National Lottery Community Fund.

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