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Art Benefits Kent

Art Benefits Kent

Kent is becoming a more attractive place to live and work thanks to the increase in public artwork, said an expert from Arts Council England, South East.

Addressing the county’s leading artists and commissioners at a seminar organised to promote the Rouse Kent Public Art Award, Stephanie Fuller, South East visual arts officer (Public Art & Architecture), Arts Council England, South East said that people now have a greater understanding of public art and how it can enhance the public realm.

She said that the changing profile of public art in the county had been reflected over the last ten years by the Rouse Kent Public Art Award, given annually by Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd, the developer of the Kings Hill business park; Kent County Council and Arts Council England, South East.

“Liberty Property Trust UK has pioneered the change in attitude on the value of art and culture in public places by the private sector,” she said. “But without artists there would be no art to recognise with an award. The power of artists to transform environments and engage people is at the heart of all successful public art projects, and is a key belief of Arts Council England.”

The Rouse Kent Public Art Award has also led to the introduction of a second public art award. Medway Renaissance – which won last year with Chatham Vines – is using its prize money to introduce the Chatham Vines Public Art Award 2007 for emerging artists who have lived, worked or studied in Medway to create a new piece of work for Chatham.

Now in its 14th year, the Rouse Kent Public Art Award carries a total prize of £20,000, and includes a new category for the best vision proposal for a work of public art planned for a new housing development.

There is still time for people in Kent to nominate their favourite piece of public art for the award – it can be anything to which the public has access, such as a sculpture, mosaic, wall hanging, street furniture or mural. The piece can be outside or inside, for instance in a library or park, and it must have been completed between April 2006 and March 2007.

Anyone wishing to nominate a piece of public art for the Rouse Kent Public Art Award should contact Clair Bushnell of Cultural Development, Kent County Council on 01622 696460/clair.bushnell@kent.gov.uk. Or download the nomination form on www.rousekentpublicartaward.co.uk where details of past winners can also be seen. Closing date for entries is 2nd March.

The judging panel will be chaired by leading art expert Richard Cork - who recently appeared on ‘The Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece’ about Van Eyck’s painting ‘The Annunciation’ on BBC2 and has written numerous art books – and will include representatives from Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd; Kent County Council; Arts Council England South as well as artists and architects.

The panel will make its shortlist on 23rd March and the winner will be announced at a VIP dinner at the Kings Hill Golf Club on 23rd May.

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