Search for hidden gold as North Lincolnshire residents go on a treasure hunt

Luke Jerram

Luke Jerram

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20-21 Visual Arts Centre has worked with internationally renowned artist, Luke Jerram, on a new project that will see the public go on a treasure hunt for real gold hidden around North Lincolnshire.

The project, entitled Treasured City, will see five artefacts chosen from North Lincolnshire Museum and then cast in £1,000 worth of 18 carat gold. The solid gold replicas will then be hidden in secret locations across North Lincolnshire for the public to find and keep.

Clues to the whereabouts of the five gold artworks will be hidden in five paintings specially created for a new exhibition at 20-21. The paintings will be on show from 18 February to 29 April 2017.

Treasured City is designed to encourage people to explore our area’s rich heritage as well as engaging those who wouldn’t normally visit a gallery or take part in arts events.

Luke Jerram is well known for artworks including: Play Me, I’m Yours, the globally successful street pianos installation; his giant Park and Slide; the critically-acclaimed Sky Orchestra; his Glass Microbiology sculptures; and most recently Museum of the Moon.

Luke Jerram said: “I’m hugely excited to be launching this new installation in Scunthorpe, a town which has a fascinating history and story to tell. This treasure hunt is an opportunity for people to engage with the region’s rich heritage, go exploring in the great outdoors, embrace their sense of adventure and creativity, as well as just have some fun playing detective.

“Many of my artworks have an element of playfulness about them and seek to offer something for everyone, with Treasured City bearing the hallmark of this approach. I hope that this new installation will be enjoyed by everyone from families to historians and puzzle solvers from within Scunthorpe and across the country.”

Luke is working with a puzzle maker – who also is employed by an unnamed Government agency – to help him design the coding and content for some of the paintings. One painting will be so easy to solve even a child may be able to work out the location of the gold, whilst other codes will be harder to crack. Throughout the exhibition, additional clues as to the whereabouts of the artworks will be released via twitter from @lukejerram.

One puzzle painting may be so difficult to decode, the gold may never be found. As a legacy for the project, this painting will remain on display in North Lincolnshire Museum with the associated golden artefact remaining hidden for the public to find one day. Assuming they have been used successfully to crack the codes, the other paintings will be donated to community causes such as schools and hospitals in the area.

Councillor Carl Sherwood, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “We are so excited for Treasure City to come to 20-21 Visual Arts Centre. The project will allow local people to learn about the history of our area in a new and exciting way. It will also bring new visitors to North Lincolnshire. By discovering our area through this epic treasure hunt, participants will see North Lincolnshire as a place for adventure – where exciting things happen.”

Commissioned by 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Treasured City is being supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council of England, with kind support from North Lincolnshire Museum.

People can follow the progress of Treasure City at or via twitter @lukejerram and @2021VisualArts and by searching the hashtag #treasuredcity.

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