Open Brief Commission

Visual Arts Plymouth is seeking expressions of interest from South West based artists for a temporary public art commission as part of Plymouth Art Weekender 2018. This year, we are offering 3 commissioning opportunities; one focussed on local participation; one focussed on heritage; and one with an open brief.

This is the call out for the open brief commission, there are however some requirements so please read the brief carefully.

Artists are invited to submit proposals for a commission to be realised in Plymouth City Centre as part of the Weekender which takes place on 28th, 29th & 30th September 2018. In previous years, Armada Way has been a strong hub for this kind of activity.

The available fee is £3000. The fee is expected to cover design, production, materials, installation, at least one tailored opportunity for local participation and any travel and accommodation expenses.

Deadline for applications: midnight 25th April


About Plymouth Art Weekender

Plymouth Art Weekender is an ambitious three day event that takes place annually across the city. The Weekender confidently celebrates Plymouth, its people and the visual arts, promoting the city as an exciting contemporary art destination. Initiated by Visual Arts Plymouth, a voluntary group of artists and organisers active in the city, PAW showcases a wide and diverse range of activity for all ages, with events and exhibitions throughout the city drawing large audiences from Plymouth & beyond.


The Commission

The proposed work should have a strong visual presence during the 3 days of the Weekender. PAW is looking for works which will help draw audiences to the Weekender, through spectacle or intrigue and which will be widely enjoyed and remembered.

As part of the the commission the selected artist should provide at least one tailored opportunity for local people to engage with their work, for instance this could involve:

  • working with particular group/groups who you identify in your proposal to develop the work
  • delivering tailored workshops/sessions for different community groups as part of the work
  • involving community members as performers/activators in the work

Works in any form will be considered, however there is a preference for temporary artworks which have a presence in an outdoor public space.

Selected artists will work closely with the Festival Coordinators alongside support from Visual Arts Plymouth and Plymouth City Council to develop their proposals, site & public participation.

Experience of working in the public realm is not essential, but is favourable. Please reference this in your application and explain why you feel your work may be suitable.

It may be useful for artists considering applying to read Plymouth’s Public Art Plan and the Plymouth Principles.


Application Requirements

To apply, please use the Open Brief Commission google form or email your application to with the subject Open Brief Commission


  1. No more than 600 words, explaining your interest in this opportunity, how you would approach the commission
  2. No more than 300 words, explaining your experience of and/or interest in working with community groups
  3. Identify between 1 and 3 potential sites or venues
  4. Up to 5 jpeg (max 1MB each) images of previous work and / or 5 URL links to websites showing specific sound and video works
  5. A link to a website, online portfolio or documentation of a previous project
  6. Artist CV/Bio or link to online CV/Bio
  7. Phone and email contact details

Selection Process:

From this information, 3 artists will be shortlisted for the commission – at this stage artist’s may be contacted with questions from the panel. The panel will include PAW Coordinators and representatives of Visual Arts Plymouth.

PAW endeavors to be an open and accessible platform – artists with a disability, or who feel that they may be at a disadvantage should contact to discuss this.


Important information:

  • The fee listed for the commission is the total available and artists should budget for this to cover all production costs, expenses, VAT (if relevant) and artist fees
  • Artists should have their own public liabilities insurance in place, before activity commences
  • Applications from collectives or artists working in partnership are welcome
  • The PAW coordinators will work with the selected artists to find suitable venue(s) for their work at the Weekender, Plymouth City Council will support this process
  • In the past most PAW commissions have made us of sites along Armada Way, this is not a requirement however there are advantages to using Armada Way in terms of footfall and support from Plymouth City Council

Important dates:

Deadline for applications: 25th April

Artists notified: 7th May

Please note that whilst we will endeavor to notify all applicants of their success or otherwise, the PAW team will be unable to offer individual feedback on applications.