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Last chance to apply to Connect 10 to win artist and cash prize

  • Date: 29 January 2013
  • Area: London, Midlands, National, North, South East, South West
musician in red lit shadow

Bob and Roberta Smith at Towner, Connect 10, Museums at Night, 2012. Credit: Photo courtesy of Towner

Thursday 31 January 2013 is the deadline for applications to this year's Connect 10, the competition that will see 10 arts organisations across England each 'win' an artist and £2000 cash to run an event.

It's all part of Museums at Night, run by Culture 24 and supported with £179,500 in funding from Arts Council England's National Lottery funded Grants for the arts

Museums at Night is a festival of inspiring after hours cultural events in museums, galleries and heritage sites, which will run from Thursday 16 May 16 to Saturday 18 May 2013. 

Here, Gilly Clarkson, Head of Marketing at Eastbourne's Towner contemporary art museum, describes how the opportunity to work with Bob and Roberta Smith as part of last year's Connect 10 helped create an unforgettable experience for Towner visitors. 

Have you ever been "carrazzled" (verb; dazzled by a carrot), or experienced "Townerifico" (noun; fantastic fun at Towner)? Had you attended our Museums at Night 2012 event, you would have!

Participants were encouraged to "Make your own damn art", in the iconic words of Bob and Roberta Smith - from inventing new words (see the above) to painting vegetables in our giant lift (where Elvis the Leek reigned supreme!).

We were extremely excited when the first ever Connect10 competition was announced - but with 10 leading artists on the table, the first challenge was simply: who to choose?

Immediately recognising the potential of Connect10 for engagement, we intuitively knew who could best answer that question: our audience. Through a social media campaign, a clear winner emerged - signmaker and installation artist Bob and Roberta Smith. Bob's humorous and democratic approach to art, encouraging everyone to become an artist, resonated strongly with our own ethos.

Having recently piloted two successful nightclub events - in partnership with Brighton live music promoter Melting Vinyl - we decided to extend this concept into a 'Museums at Nightclub'. To ensure our offer was truly inclusive, we also planned a day of family activities with Bob prior to the event. We were thrilled when our idea captured the public imagination and won the vote.

At a brainstorming session at Bob's studio, the idea of the 'University of Misunderstanding' took shape - with club-goers taking part in each activity on the 'curriculum'. Live music and DJs included Bob's own band (we are eternally grateful for Bob's enthusiasm and amenability, as we found ever more ways to exploit his talents!).

Our Dodgy Art Competition encouraged people to bring along and celebrate their "worst" piece of art - such as that GCSE piece we all have lingering in the back of a cupboard...the results, displayed on plinths in our Collection Gallery, were a joy to behold.

Ultimately, we wanted to put the "fun" back in art, and I can honestly say we achieved that. The building truly buzzed with excitement and activity, as hundreds of people of all ages got to grips with their inner artist - some picking up a paintbrush for the first time since school, to apply brushstrokes to a carrot.

If you're considering planning your own Connect10 event, we couldn't recommend it more highly - after all, where else could you hear an "alpacapello" (noun; a llama singing a sweet, sweet song)?

For more information on how to apply to Connect 10, see:

Grants for the arts is Arts Council England's open application funding programme. It invests National Lottery money to support activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work. For more information, see