MORE than 120 artists from across the country expressed an interest in a commission offered by officials at Barnard Castle's Witham Hall.

The landmark hall, in the town centre, is currently undergoing a £3m rebuilding and refurbishment scheme.

To mark its reopening next year, the Witham project team is planning to unveil a new piece of public art.

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Annalisa Ward, community liaison officer, said the response from the art world had been overwhelming.

“Over 120 artists got in touch to request the brief. Following hard-hat site tours for those interested artists, 32 applications were received by the submission deadline,” she said.

“From bottles to glass tiles, porcelain and wood, there were many exciting proposals that took some element of the town's history as as stimulus.”

A shortlist was drawn up and interviews held and an appointment is due early in the new year.

“The artist will be working with local primary school children to create a piece of work to mark the redevelopment of the Witham and to celebrate this new chapter in Barnard Castle's history,” she added.