HISTORIC Towneley Hall is competing against nationally-renowned museums to bring the work of a leading contemporary artist to East Lancashire.

The Burnley landmark is up against the Surgeons Hall in Edinburgh and the Market Hall Museum in Warwick to attract the talents of Alex Hartley.

Part of the Museums at Night Project, Towneley will also be taking on the Berwick Gymnasium Museum to host a free event over the weekend of May 15 to 17.

All cultural and heritage venues are being invited to run evening events as part of the UK wide festival.

But public votes are the key to the competition and cultural leaders are urging townsfolk to sing the hall’s praises for judges.

Coun John Harbour, the council’s cabinet member for leisure and culture and a former borough mayor, said: “As usual Burnley is up there competing with cities and major galleries to host this event, to have got this far is proof of the cultural offer our town has.

“I’d urge everyone to vote, tell their family and friends to vote, and let’s see Towneley Hall yet again recognised nationally.”

If Burnley is successful London-based Alex, who was a leading light of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, will stage workshops and installations at Towneley.

The venue has already become well-known on the small screen, as the backdrop to two series of Antique Master and a recent recording of Antique’s Roadshow.

It also played host to Heritage Opera's world premiere live production of Mansfield Parkby Jonathan Dove, based on the novel by Jane Austen.

And the opportunity is the latest arts development to incorporate Burnley after the borough was one of five to receive £80,000 from the Arts Council to increase participation in the arts, from getting theatre touring companies to visit, to organising artist residencies.

Voting can be carried via the www.culture24. org.uk website, and a link for Alex Hartley.