Temporary public art co-commission for PAW 2020

Visual Arts Plymouth CIC, in partnership with KARST, are seeking expressions of interest from early to mid career artists for a temporary public art commission as part of Plymouth Art Weekender 2020

Artists are invited to submit proposals for a commission to be realised in Plymouth as part of the Weekender which takes place on 25th, 26th & 27th September 2020

The available fee is £3000, which is expected to cover artist fees, design, production, materials, installation and any travel and accommodation expenses. There is the opportunity to apply for further funding with the support of the Plymouth Art Weekender team, however, this would only work with projects that are already fully formed enough to submit funding bids at the end of February/beginning of March 2020

Deadline for applications: 9th of February 2020

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 CIC, a voluntary group of artists and organisers active in the city, PAW showcases a wide and diverse range of activities for all ages, with events and exhibitions throughout the city drawing large audiences and artists from Plymouth & beyond


KARST is the largest independent contemporary art venue in Plymouth, comprising a free public gallery space and artists’ studios. KARST was founded in 2012 in the industrial Millbay area of the city and aims to be a test-bed for experimentation: from conceptually complex group shows proposed by international curators to projects focusing on individual artists or artistic collaboration

At the heart of KARST’s ambition as a National Portfolio Organisation lies a commitment to fostering connectivity and widening participation in the arts across the city of Plymouth, and beyond. By forging strong links with neighbours, partner organisations and education providers  KARST has embedded itself deeply within the community and established a rich and diverse learning and engagement programme

The Commission Outline

KARST and Visual Arts Plymouth are interested in highlighting conversations around art, well being, mental health, disability and visibility. We are looking for artists who make work around the representation of the body and or mind within contemporary art. We are interested in proposals that could explore: 

  • Identity through long term illness/disability
  • “Outsider art” - art without the conventional structures of art training and art production
  • Communities considered to be on the margins of society
  • Care and healing
  • Accessibility and inclusion

We envisage this commission taking shape through ongoing conversation with the commissioning partners and local communities and welcome proposals that will thoughtfully carry this through to the presentation of work at PAW 2020. 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 well as being a site for thought and discussion. The work should also consider ideas around community engagement and widening participation in the arts

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 KARST, Visual Arts Plymouth CIC and Plymouth City Council to develop their proposals, site & public participation

Experience of working in the public realm is essential for this commission so 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 email commissions@plymouthartweekender.com with the subject line ‘KARST Plymouth Weekender Commission Application’ to submit your expression of interest, which should comprise:

  1. No more than 800 words, explaining your interest in this opportunity and how you would approach the commission 
  2. No more than 300 words, explaining your experience of working within the commission context 
  3. Identification of between 1 and 3 potential sites or venues
  4. A draft budget outline
  5. Up to 5 jpeg images (max 1MB each) of previous work and / or 5 URL links to websites showing specific sound and video works
  6. A link to a website, online portfolio or documentation of a previous project
  7. Artist CV/Bio or link to online versions 
  8. Phone and email contact details

Selection Process: 

From this information, 2 artists will be shortlisted for the commission - at this stage artists may be contacted with questions from the panel. The panel will include PAW Coordinators, representatives of Visual Arts Plymouth CIC and KARST

PAW endeavours to be an open and accessible platform - artists with a disability, or who feel that they may be at a disadvantage should contact plymouthartweekender@gmail.com 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 liability 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 and Plymouth City Council will support this process

Important dates: 

Deadline for applications: 9th February 2020

Shortlisting of applications: Week of the 10th of February 2020

Artists notified: Week of the 17th of February 2020 

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

Plymouth Art Weekender is supported by Arts Council England, The Box, Nudge Community Builders CBS, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth University, Plymouth Marjon University, Take A Part, KARST, Plymouth Culture, Ocean Studios & RIO, Plymouth School of Creative Arts and Contemporary Art Membership Plymouth CIC.

KARST is an independent arts organisation with charitable status and is supported by Arts Council England and Plymouth City Council.