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UK’s First Exhibition from Neon Art Pioneer is Brought to Life by Wakefield-based XPLOR

An exhibition from American Neon Art Pioneer, Fred Tschida is being made a reality by Wakefield-based innovation centre for the live events industry, XPLOR.

Based in South Kirby on Production Park, XPLOR is a £9 million research, development and innovation centre that aims to support SMEs across the creative industries from music, film and TV to sports, theatre, corporate events and the arts.

The XPLOR project has secured grant funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

CIRCLESPHERE is Tschida’s first exhibition in Europe and will be hosted at Neon Workshops Project Space: 7A and The Art House in Wakefield from 29th September – 28th November.

Fred Tschida, retired Professor at Alfred University, New York, was one of the first generation of artists and professors to explore and teach neon for nearly 40 years, since the 1970’s, and - until now - his artworks have not been exhibited in Europe.

The exhibition was the brainchild of artist Richard William Wheater, a former student of Tschida’s and founder of Neon Workshops in Wakefield, a company that develops and manufactures neon lighting for the creative industry.

Richard was determined to bring Tschida’s neon creations to the UK, and using his own expertise in the neon industry coupled with the technical know-how of engineers at XPLOR, as well as financial support from The art House and Arts Council England, he was able to bring the 23 foot structure to life.

After being approached by Richard, engineers at XPLOR took the project from initial concept through to the final design of the impressive rotating neon-clad ‘SPHERE’.

Matthew Glynn, Product and Concept Design Engineer and Pete Nye, Controls and Software Engineer at XPLOR were tasked with bringing the creation to life, and after 3 months developing the installation, the public can now see Fred’s works in person.

Lee Brooks, CEO of Production Park said:

“When Richard approached XPLOR we were immediately captivated by his bold plans for the exhibition, and more than anything we felt privileged to be a part of such a historic moment.

“Projects like this perfectly capture the reason why we set up XPLOR, and after a tough couple of years for the creative industry, it’s extremely reassuring to see the sector re-invigorated.

“The team carried this project from the initial sketches through to the final installation, showcasing their expertise and what XPLOR is capable of.

“It’s a hugely positive time to be in the creative industry as we approach normality, and we’re proud to be leading the way from our base in South Kirby”.

Artist and Founder of Neon Workshops, Richard William Wheater said:

“Ever since studying with Fred in New York, I’ve been inspired by the use of neon as an art-form. It’s what drove me to set up Neon Workshops and has helped me to establish a successful career supplying neon installations to the creative industry.

“It’s only now, with the help of the team at XPLOR and The Art House that we’ve been able to replicate Fred’s designs.

“CIRCLESPHERE really is breath-taking, and I hope people are instilled with the same sense of awe that first drew me towards Fred’s works”.

The exhibition coincides with the tenth anniversary of Neon Workshops, now a nationally renowned centre for neon art and production.

XPLOR’s site is in the final stages of development and once complete, will incorporate a 2,520m2 specialist knowledge and innovation centre, offering a broad range of creative spaces and state-of-the-art technology to SMEs, and wider supply chain industries. It will also serve as the research arm of Backstage Academy.

Running from 2019 until 2022, the project was made possible through grant funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERD). Supported by the Cultural Development Fund (CDF), it will be headed up by Development Director, Jim Farmery, previously of Creative England.

With expertise and capabilities in concept & product design, software control, automation, prototyping, testing and digital content design, XPLOR seeks to drive research excellence and support industrial growth in the entertainment technology and production sectors.

To be eligible for support from XPLOR, your business must be:

An SME employing fewer than 250 people and with an annual turnover of under £50m; Based in the Leeds City Region – including Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York; Trading in an eligible sector.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by XPLOR .

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