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Kent visual artists and organisations scoop up awards

  • Date: 24 October 2011
  • Area: South East
Ghost, Adam Chodzko, Whitstable Biennale, 2010

Ghost, Adam Chodzko, Whitstable Biennale, 2010. Credit: Photo courtesy of Adam Chodzko

This autumn, two major award schemes have recognised Kent’s outstanding arts and cultural offer.

In October, Whitstable artist Adam Chodzko won the Liberty Kent Public Art Award 2011 carrying a cash prize of £17,000 for his work Ghost.

Ghost was part of last year’s Whitstable Biennale and was supported with a £67,961 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award.

Ghost is a kayak, a coffin, a bed, a costume and a camera rig. It was conceived by the artist in order to ferry people to the island of the dead - Deadman's Island - off Queenborough, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, during the Whitstable Biennale 2010. Now in its sixth year, Whitstable Biennale is a festival of contemporary visual art exploring performance and artists' moving image, which was supported last year with a £119,810 Arts Council Grants for the arts award.

And earlier this year in September, art gallery Turner Contemporary in Margate, an Arts Council regularly funded organisation, was awarded the Regeneration + Renewal award for Best Use of Arts & Culture.

The gallery, which opened its doors to much local, national and international attention on 25 April 2011, welcomed more than 150,000 visitors in its first three months. The award recognises Turner Contemporary’s contribution to the town’s regeneration.

The gallery was nominated by the South East England Development Agency, who was one of the key funders of the building. Arts Council England invested £4.1 million towards the gallery's £17.4 million build, as well as Kent County Council, who invested £6.4 million and managed the project, Thanet District Council and philanthropic funds raised by the Turner Contemporary Art Trust.

Turner Contemporary Chair John Kampfner accepted the award on behalf of the gallery at a ceremony held on 29 September.

The Liberty Kent Public Art Award is funded by Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd, Kent County Council and Futurecity.

The judging panel included design guru Wayne Hemingway MBE; Mark Davy, founder of Futurecity; Stephanie Fuller, Senior Manager for Regional Planning at Arts Council England South East; Rosa Ainley, a Kent-based writer/artist and Anna Harvey, a Young Arts Ambassador for Kent.

Stephanie Fuller, Senior Manager, Regional Planning, Arts Council England, who has been involved with the Liberty Kent Award for over 10 years, commented, ‘The quality of the work this year is of a fantastically high calibre.

'Now in its seventeenth year, this award is a great pioneering and forward looking partnership between Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd and a local authority, Kent County Council. It very much embodies the type of partnership Arts Council England is encouraging to enable to arts to thrive.’

She added: ‘By choosing Ghost as the winning piece, we recognised an outstanding example of public art commissioned and completed in the Kent this year. I hope the piece and the other contenders for this award continue to engage and inspire the public as well as stimulating the commissioning of new work in Kent.’

Turner Chair John Kampfner says: ‘Receiving this award is a real accolade for Turner Contemporary, and not just for the gallery but for Margate. Since opening in April, the gallery has welcomed over 240,000 visitors and signs of regeneration can be seen throughout the town. This is just the start of something positive and beneficial for the town and we’re delighted that our contribution to this has been so well recognised.’

Runners up for the Liberty Kent Public Art Award 2011 were A K Dolven’s Out of Tune, which was commissioned by Folkestone Triennial 2011, and Sans façon’s Iconic Site, which was situated in Margate and was commissioned by Margate Arts Creativity Heritage (MACH).