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Illuminated River Foundation launches fund for community groups near the Thames

Howard Lake | 31 July 2019 | News

The charity behind “the world’s longest public art commission” has set up a community fund to support local groups near the River Thames in London to put on supporting and publicly accessible activities.
The Illuminated River Foundation is creating a major public artwork, illuminating up to 15 of London’s bridges across the Thames. Its new Community Fund has been established to help local groups join in the project with activities that encourage more people to enjoy the Thames, its bridges and riverside surroundings at night. In particular it is supporting initiatives around the first phase of Illuminated River, which focuses on London, Cannon St, Southwark and Millennium Bridges.
This first phase was launched with the illumination on 17th July of those four Thames bridges.
The Community Fund is now inviting organisations and community groups to help ensure the artwork’s impact is translated into “meaningful public engagement by supporting community-initiated projects, events and activities that relate to the project” and which are local to the first four bridges, in the boroughs of Southwark and the City of London.
It especially welcomes applications that engage young people, families, older people and those who are unwaged or on low incomes. 

10 years of Illuminated River

The artwork is by American artist Leo Villareal and British architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Over 10 years it is expected to be seen more than 60 million times a year by Londoners and visitors to the capital. Illuminated River will eventually see up to 15 bridges lit along the Thames, making it the longest public art commission in the world.
From the start of the project the Foundation has engaged communities local to the river to understand people’s existing relationships with the bridges, explore how the project might benefit them, and ensure that any potential impacts are mitigated. 

London Bridge - Illuminated River - photo: Paul Riddle

London Bridge – Illuminated River – photo: Paul Riddle


Funding the Illuminated River

The Illuminated River Foundation is itself a charity, set up to deliver the major public artwork. It is focused on raising private funding for the installation and maintenance of the project, and has already received funding from:


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Seed funding was awarded from the Mayor of London’s Office for the initial competition, and from the City of London Corporation for replacing light fittings on London Bridge.


How to apply

Sarah Gaventa, Director of the Illuminated River Foundation, said:

“In launching the Community Fund we are particularly keen to hear about projects which engage with Illuminated River, delve into the history of the bridges and their local areas, and will enable local residents to access the river and its banks”.

Registered charities are invited to apply for project funding of up to £1,500 and non-registered groups are invited to apply for project funding of up to £750. Applicants should check eligibility and complete the funding application form that is available on the Illuminated River website.
Applications should then be emailed to co***********@il**************.london by 5pm on 13 September 2019.
Applications will be judged by a panel of representatives from local councils and the Illuminated River Foundation. The successful applications will be announced by October 2019. Applications for projects beginning prior to October 2019 may be considered.

Map showing vantage points for Illuminated River

Map showing vantage points for Illuminated River

Main photo: Cannon Street bridge – Illuminated River – photo: James Newton