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Volunteer-run Norwich arts organisation to run most ambitious programme to date

  • Date: 27 February 2012
  • Area: South East
white gallery space with sculpture installation

Norwich OUTPOST's Summer Fayre exhibition 2011. Credit: Neil Smallbone

Norwich-based visual arts organisation OUTPOST will run its most ambitious programme to date this year helping emerging UK artists to develop their talent in collaboration with leading international counterparts.

This will be made possible with a £117,000 Grants for the arts award from Arts Council England.

Grants for the arts, funded by the National Lottery, provides awards for projects carried out over a set period, which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.

The award recognises the organisation’s commitment to talent development which ties in closely with the Arts Council’s ambition to support the best regional talent through a range of showcasing, networking and mentoring opportunities.

OUTPOST’s forthcoming visual arts programme presents a range of nationally and internationally renowned artists who will work alongside regional artists. The activity is aimed at raising the expectations and motivation of the artists involved with the gallery, as well as making vital links and connections outside of the region that will allow for continuing OUTPOST development. The forthcoming OUTPOST exhibition 2012 programme includes:

Feb 2012 James Iveson
Mar 2012 Ed Sanders (artist member)
Apr 2012 Morag Keil
May 2012 May 2012  Emma Hart
Jun 2012 Jon Rafman & Joel Holmberg
Jul 2012 Benedict Drew
Sep 2012 Gabriele Beveridge
Dec 2012 OUTPOST Members Show

In 2010 OUTPOST set up an artist workspace in a disused office block situated in Norwich city centre. Currently providing affordable studio spaces for more than 80 artists working in the region, OUTPOST will this year begin to start using this building to host short-term residences for exhibiting artists, essentially providing the artists with substantial studio space in order to produce new work in Norwich. Due to the size of spaces available for use, this new initiative will enable artists to produce new and ambitious bodies of work for their OUTPOST exhibition, while also being based in the city for a prolonged period and engage with regional activities. This new scheme was initiated by Jack Vickridge’s exhibition at the gallery in October 2011, and the work produced while in residence was subsequently toured to London in 2012.

As part of its 2012 residency programme, OUTPOST will also be opening up its studio complex to two artists collaborating in an offsite exhibition entitled Twofold for the Norwich & Norfolk Festival 2012 (NNF). Following an open call for artist submissions, OUTPOST and NNF collectively selected the UK-based artist Yelena Popova to produce a new body of work for Twofold, which will be exhibited alongside a significant new commission by Berlin-based artist Gregor Hylla. The exhibition will be held at Westlegate House in Norwich, from 11 to 26 May, and will form part of the first ever co-commission by OUTPOST and NNF. Both artists will be in residence in the city from 10 April 2012, and will also have access to a studio space at OUTPOST’s Norwich headquarters to produce the work. A programme of events and offsite projects is also run that includes screenings, critical forums, group exhibitions and artists' talks.

A key characteristic of OUTPOST’s remit is its artist members’ subscription scheme. The organisation currently has more than 400 members comprising a mixture of contemporary visual artists, curators and critical writers living in the UK and abroad. Membership subscription costs £15 annually.

As part of its core programme, OUTPOST runs 11 exhibitions per year - selected from both its archive of member-produced work and its wider remit. Alongside its core exhibition programme, OUTPOST also regularly hosts events, discussion, performances and film screenings at the gallery. OUTPOST will this year be hosting a second instalment of its successful OUTPOST Open Film programme. Initiated last year, OUTPOST Open Film features a show reel of artist films from the OUTPOST membership, last year selected by Ben Cook from LUX, which is screened at the gallery before touring to other art organisations across the UK. This year artist-filmmaker Stuart Croft will be selecting submissions or OUTPOST Open Film 2012, which is open to all current OUTPOST artist members.

Amy Budd, OUTPOST’s Committee Chair, said: ‘It is fantastic and quite unusual for a volunteer and artist-run space to be able to commission internationally renowned artists. The funding will be invaluable in allowing us to continue to feed into a national dialogue on contemporary arts while also supporting talented local artists in the community.’

Amy Botfield, Relationship Manager for Visual Arts at Arts Council England, said: ‘This award recognises OUTPOST’s excellent track record in delivering a high quality, sensitively-curated exhibition and events programme, as well as its ability to consistently provide a supportive and nurturing environment for artists. Through this investment, the organisation will be able to capitalise on its growing national and international reputation, giving more artists the opportunity to make and show new work.’

For more information on Grants for the arts go to the funding section of our website.