SCULPT, a free art event, has seen visitor numbers increase massively thanks to the inspiring installations in the seven churches centred on Masham, near Ripon, in North Yorkshire.

Seven international and innovative artists have created individual, site-specific sculptures for beautifully located churches in the Yorkshire Dales.

North Stainley, West Tanfield, Well, Snape, Masham, Healey and Mickley churches each have their own exciting, family-friendly and theatrical artwork installed by a top international artist until September 29.

The trail is about 26 miles and depending how many times the visitor stops at all the cafes and pubs along the route, should take about two hours to complete.

The idea for the project stemmed from concerns that the church in North Stainley might close due to low attendance. Thanks to the enthusiasm and engagement from the small congregation, numbers have increased from approx 25 a month to 200.

This event has helped to increase awareness of these buildings, from appreciating their architectural importance as part of the village landscape, to using them for a range of non-religious activities such as Sculpt, concerts, exhibitions and talks.

The project is supported by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who is the patron. There have been engaging events with local schoolchildren meeting the artists and making their own interpretations of the artwork. For visitors, there is a treasure hunt at each venue. Sculpt is dramatic art, not passive, and this is the first event of its kind in the UK. It takes place at the same time as Yorkshire Sculpture International.

This art project has been made possible with the generous support of the Arts Council, the Jerusalem Trust, All Churches Trust, Skipton Hire Centres and the Himalayan Garden.