Artists take over the chapel at Wentworth Woodhouse

From aristocratic ceremonies to art space… 

The private chapel of Rotherham stately home Wentworth Woodhouse has moved with the times.

It is now the backdrop for exhibitions by four local artists.

The Preservation Trust regenerating the house has stepped in to support the work of the Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance project (ROAR).

The Arts Council funded National Portfolio Organisation helps emerging local talent to find an audience and now has a membership of 224 local artists and organisations. 

During October the little chapel inside the 18th Century Grade I listed mansion is home to a rolling exhibition featuring artists supported by ROAR.

“For centuries the Fitzwilliams filled the house with artworks. The Trust is continuing that in a much more accessible way, by enabling people from all walks of life to engage with art and by supporting local creative projects,” said Trust CEO Sarah McLeod. 

“We decided to give four local artists the space and help they needed to stage their first ever exhibition.

“Our Chapel is a place of calm and we thought it was the ideal setting for people to contemplate artworks.”

The first artist ‘in the frame’ is former headmaster Kevan Cadman.

Kevan, 61, became a full-time artist in 2018 after retiring as Head of School at Roughwood Primary.

Brought up near Firth Park, Kevan was arty from childhood and loved creating things from the spare parts left over after completing Airfix kits. He studied art and education at university before beginning a teaching career that lasted 37 years, and spanned five Rotherham schools.

“Never being a person to settle on one creative discipline, over the years I produced work under various creative monikers and had a reputation for cultivating creativity in the classroom, inspiring children particularly through the use of digital technologies, film and animation,” said Kevan, of Whiston, who is a member of local band The Rotherham Rogues.
“I produce anything that falls out of my head and often work with lino printing techniques on pieces inspired by myths legends, and ancient superstitions.

“On retiring I immediately joined ROAR and it’s helped me develop my artistic output. I’m now working on 2D and 3D pieces using wood, cardboard and reclaimed materials - even tin cans.”

Kevan’s exhibition will run until 23 October, then the chapel interior becomes the domain of the Zanib Collective, local Pakistani heritage female art practitioners Shaheen Shah,a visual artist, Zanib Rasool, writer and poet, and Mariam Shah, an oral historian.

Their exhibition runs from 2-27 November and exhibitions three and four will take place in 2021.

It is free to visit the Chapel exhibitions, which run every Wednesday to Sunday. To ensure social distancing, viewing is in timed slots which can be booked online.

Caption: Former Roughwood Primary head Kevan Cadman with two pieces for his Wentworth Woodhouse exhibition