Art on the Tiles!

Despite repairs over many years, rain water has been coming in through the Curzon’s failing roof and damaging this unique building. The ornate tin panelling, which reaches throughout the building and is the most complete example known to survive in England, is rusting and deteriorating. The collection of nearly 500 cinematic artefacts, some of which are incredibly rate, is in peril. The future of this historic cinema is in jeopardy.

The Curzon team, the local community and friends of the Curzon, up and down the country have been working hard to raise those much needed funds.

The Curzon have just announced a very exciting new partnership with Aardman in an unusual fundraising auction “Art on the Tiles” to raise money for their roof restoration appeal.

Nick Park will be painting Wallace and Gromit onto one of the old tiles from the roof of the cinema. Peter Lord will be joining him in creating a Morph tile. They will be joined by Peter’s co-founder David Sproxton and more Aardman directors and designers.

Aardman receiving the tiles

The tiles, made in a local brickworks in the 1920s, will be sold online in a week-long auction starting on Sunday 1st December and ending on Sunday 8th December 2019. . Karen Edgington, Fundraising Campaign Manager, said:

“This is a wonderfully quirky art auction and is a chance for people to own a piece of memorabilia from one of the world’s oldest, continuously running cinemas. Many of the tiles will be on the theme of some favourite films.”

The first tile ready for auction is a stunning and unique interpretation of one of cinemas most well loved films. Artist Mandi Baykaa-Murray, Artist or “The Feather Lady” is an award winning wildlife artist, inspired by the natural world, in particular birds of prey which she is best known for painting on feathers.

Mandi works from her home in Yatton, North Somerset and exhibits locally and nationally in events and exhibitions including North Somerset Arts weeks, Rutland Birdfair, The Wildlife Art Society International Exhibition and the Exhibition Of Wildlife Art to mention just a few.

Mandi was delighted to be asked to take part in ‘Art On The Tiles’ to help raise funds for the Curzon. Until now, Mandi has supported various wildlife charities through her art, but in this case, to present ‘wildlife art’ in a way to appeal to a wider audience is an exciting prospect, especially as the Curzon Cinema is such an impressive and important piece of local history.

The film Mandi has used as her inspiration for her tile is one of the first films she saw at The Curzon Cinema around 17 years ago, which she saw with her daughter who was then only a couple of months old. Not difficult to guess the title!

For some time rain water has been coming in through the failing roof and damaging the building, largely behind the scenes. In December 2018, water started to come into the main auditorium and the long-term future of the cinema is now at risk without an urgent, full roof restoration. The charity launched the roof appeal in May 2019 to help save the cinema.

Karen continued: “The situation is critical, we are deeply concerned about our future. We urgently need to restore the roof. As well as major reconstruction, all of the old tiles will be replaced with 12,833 new tiles.”

Aardman’s David Sproxton comments:

“When you go to the cinema to enjoy a film and to get out of the cold and rain, the last thing you want is that rain to land in your lap, even if the film you are watching is ‘Singing in The Rain’. So raising money for a new roof for this wonderful and historic cinema using the old tiles is a brilliant idea and we are delighted to be involved. We can all look forward to leaving our sou’westers at home and enjoying a grand night out at the Curzon without getting rained on, once again!”

The total cost of the roof restoration is £600,000 and the Curzon staff and volunteers were delighted to secure £239,900 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in September 2019.

A community campaign for £100,000 has already reached £60,000 and the charity’s trustees are able to allocate a further £60,000 from their restoration fund which has accumulated donations from the community over the years. 

The total currently stands £360,000. The charity hopes to reach their £100,000 target from the local community and businesses by the end of the year and the Art on the Tiles auction is a key part of this aspiration. The charity is also applying to several other charitable trusts and foundations in the hope they can secure the remaining funds.

Aardman have already lent their support to the Curzon’s roof appeal by allowing the charity  the use of an iconic rainy scene from the award-winning Wallace & Gromit film “The Wrong Trousers” to create a trailer to show on their big screen to promote the fundraising. Peter Lord and David Sproxton are Patrons of the Curzon. Check it out here:

Susannah Shaw, CEO at the Curzon, said:

“We are very grateful to our patrons at Aardman who have given us fantastic support in this campaign and are excited to see the results of their work and that of other generous artists and celebrities who have offered their time to help save our roof.”

For more information, please contact: Karen Edgington, Fundraising Campaign Manager Email: / Tel: 07793 748350

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