Public art commission for Plymouth Art Weekender

Image Credit: Edwin Burdis & Tom Woolner- The Salty Singing Spectacle of Shiny Sozzled Sailors, PAW Artist Commission 2017, image Rod Gonzalez

Deadline Wednesday 25 April 2018

Fee £3000

Visual Arts Plymouth in partnership with The Box, Plymouth are seeking expressions of interest from South West based artists for a temporary public art commission as part of Plymouth Art Weekender 2018.

Plymouth is a city with a rich seafaring heritage and stunning waterfront. The UK starting point for some of the most famous journeys and explorations through time, its fascinating history includes the development of its post-war architecture and the wealth of pioneers and revolutionaries that called the city home. 

Artists are invited to produce an artwork that helps to unlock and uncover some of these well-known or untold stories.

The artwork will have a strong visual presence in Plymouth City Centre as part of the Weekender which takes place 28th, 29th & 30th September 2018.

The available fee is £3000. The fee is expected to cover design, production, materials, and install needs including security and invigilation, and any travel and accommodation expenses

Deadline for applications: 25th April

About Plymouth Art Weekender (PAW)

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.


About The Box

The Box, Plymouth is a major redevelopment scheme and a symbol for the city’s current regeneration and future. It will be a museum for the 21st century with extraordinary gallery displays, high profile artists and art exhibitions, as well as exciting events and performances that will take visitors on a journey from pre-history to the present and beyond. The Box will open as the flagship building for the Mayflower 400 commemorations in spring 2020. Find out more at


The Commission

This commission should highlight an aspect of Plymouth’s History in a way which is engaging and approachable for both local and visiting audiences. As part of 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

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.

Works in any medium will be considered, however there is a preference for art works which have a presence in an outside public space.

Artists considering applying should read Plymouth’s Public Art Plan and the Plymouth Principles.

Selected artists will work closely with the Festival Coordinators and Plymouth City Council Public Art Officer  to develop their proposals, site & public participation. Experience of working in the public realm is not essential, but please reference this in your application and explain why you feel your work may be suitable. All art forms will be considered but please consider the temporary, outside, nature of the commission.


Application Requirements

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


You will be asked to provide

  1. No more than 600 words, explaining your interest in this opportunity and how you would approach the commission
  2. No more than 200 words explaining your interest in Plymouth’s Heritage
  3. No more than 200 words, explaining your experience of and/or interest in working with community groups
  4. Identify between 1 and 3 potential city centre sites
  5. Up to 4 jpeg (max 1MB each) images of previous work and / or 4 URL links to websites (including video/sound)
  6. Film, video and sound works to be supplied as URL links (max 4)
  7. A link to a website, online portfolio or documentation of a previous project
  8. Artist CV/Bio or link to online CV/Bio
  9. Phone and email contact details


Selection Process:

From this information 3 artists will be shortlisted for the commission and presented to the final Selection Panel. The panel will include PAW Coordinators, a representative of The Box and a representative of Visual Arts Plymouth.

PAW endeavors to be an open and accessible platform - artists who consider themselves disabled, or have additional needs are encouraged to 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 and confirm suitable venue(s) for their work at the Weekender, Plymouth City Council will support this process


Important dates:

Deadline for applications: 25th April

Shortlisted artist notified: 2nd May

Selected artist 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.


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Visual Arts South West

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