Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant and Castle, 2011 by Marcus Coates, Performed with Chrome Hoof, Commissioned and produced by Nomad Project© Marcus Coates

Vision Quest: A Ritual for Elephant and Castle, 2011 by Marcus Coates, Performed with Chrome Hoof, Commissioned and produced by Nomad Project© Marcus Coates

PEOPLE are being asked to back Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens in a public vote after it was shortlisted to host a major national arts event.

For the last three months museums and galleries the length and breadth of the UK have been submitting a range of creative ideas in the hope of enticing  one of five leading contemporary artists to their museum or gallery to create a unique arts event.

These will form part of the Museums at Night festival which runs from October 27-29.

The artists themselves have shortlisted the venues they are interested in working with and it is now up to members of the public to vote for which artist goes where.

Voting opens at 11 am this Friday 29 April at www.museumsatnight.org.uk  The winning partnerships will be announced on Monday 16 May.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens has been shortlisted by artist Marcus Coates whose work has previously been shortlisted for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

He is best known for his performances and installations that employ shamanistic rituals to engage with the natural world, including Goshawk (1999) where Coates was suspended high up in a pine tree in order to view the world as a bird of prey.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is competing against the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle and Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol to win the public vote to have Marcus come to work with them.

Fiona Brown,  Director of People Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s a real coup to have been shortlisted by Marcus as one of the three venues in the country he is interested in working with as part of Museums at Night’s national Connect! competition.

“If we win, Marcus will work with our visitors to answer their questions using museum objects to unlock messages from the past.

“We’re hoping he will take inspiration from our Time Machine Gallery which includes objects as diverse as Wallace the lion and a 1920s diving suit sitting alongside exotic collections, such as an Egyptian shabti – which have a real resonance for generations of people in Sunderland.

“Winning a unique national arts event like this would only serve to strengthen the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.

“But we really need people to get behind Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens by voting for them to win this event for the city.”

For further information on Museums at Night Connect! competition:

http://museumsatnight.org.uk/connect/#.VyCd6mD2a70