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Charleston’s Iconic Painted Surfaces – Saved!

Three months ago we set out to raise £25,000, money that would help restore some of Charleston’s wonderful painted interiors. Thanks to generosity of all of our donors we achieved 130% of our target, an incredible £32,554.

In conjunction with the Art Fund and their #arthappens crowd funding platform, several levels of donation ranging from £5 to £995 were available. In return, supporters will receive rewards which range from postcard sets with Charleston’s iconic design motifs to mounted fragments of wallpaper from the Library to an exclusive patterned scarf and tote bag designed by Cressida Bell. Vanessa Bell’s granddaughter.

The key restoration work can now be carried out by March 2016 and will include the paintwork around the window in the Spare Room, the wallpaper in the Library and the Vanessa Bell painted doors in the House Kitchen.  The additional money will all go to ensuring that the restoration, decorations and collection are kept in the best possible condition by the installation of a new state-of-the-art climate control and monitoring system.

Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of The Charleston Trust said

“The Art Fund were tremendously supportive, and we are delighted that the Charleston campaign was their most successful to date, with the largest number of donors and largest percentage of target exceeded to date on the Art Happens platform.  Proving that Charleston and its appeal is as relevant as ever.”

Nigel Newton, Chairman of The Charleston Trust said

“This crowd funding campaign in conjunction with the Art Fund was a new initiative to find new supporters for Charleston. We are thrilled that the campaign exceeded its target. I am particularly grateful to Margaret Atwood for pointing us in the direction of crowdfunding in a conversation we had following her event at the Small Wonder Short Story Festival at Charleston a year ago. We hope to continue to inspire visitors to Charleston with its fine art for generations to come, particularly in our centenary year of 2016 when this restoration work will be completed.”

Carolyn Young, Director of Marketing, the Art Fund, said

Charleston were fantastic to work with on this project and we are over the moon that they not only smashed their target so impressively, but also were able to raise extra funds towards further protecting the building’s extraordinary painted surfaces.  The demand and interest in the project is testament to how crowdfunding can be an excellent fundraising tool for museums, and a huge thank you must go to Charleston’s supporters, and other art-loving members of the public who all so generously supported this campaign.”

Fashion label Burberry credits Charleston as the inspiration behind its autumn/winter 2014 collection, the Bloomsbury Girls, and this summer, BBC2 broadcast a three-part series, Life in Squares. Filmed partly at Charleston, Life in Squares tells the story of Vanessa Bell and her sister, the writer Virginia Woolf, and has brought record numbers of visitors to Charleston this summer.

The Charleston Trust would also like to thank the broadcaster Jon Snow who helped Charleston and the Art Fund launch the crowd funding campaign in July to help restore these key painted surfaces in the House – the only complete Bloomsbury interior in the world – which are in desperate need of restoration and conservation.

Charleston continues to be a hub of creativity and artistic inspiration for the thousands of visitors and contributors each year.  The House and Gardens are open to the public until 1 November 2015 and re-open to the public on the 23 March 2016 for its centenary year, when the restored decorated interiors will be on full display.

For more details on the project, rewards and the restoration project updates this winter – visit: www.artfund.org/arthappens-charleston

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