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More time for Winning Art

More time for Winning Art

The format of Kent’s most prestigious art award – the Rouse Kent Public Art Award - is being changed slightly and will now take place every two years instead of annually.

This follows a very positive evaluation of the award funded by Arts Council England South East and the launch of Kent County Council’s new Kent Arts Development Unit.

The award is made jointly by Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust UK Ltd and Kent County Council and is for the best piece of public art commissioned and completed in the county every two years. Entries can be submitted by commissioners and the public and can be for anything the public has free access to, such as sculptures, artwork in public buildings, street furniture and instalments in parks and gardens.

The Rouse Kent Public Art Award has been a firm fixture in the arts’ calendar for 14 years and, said Caroline Binns of Liberty Property Trust UK, the decision to make the slight change was to allow artists and commissioners more time to complete their works.

“Last year an independent art consultant undertook an evaluation of the award. A number of recommendations were made to ensure the judging criteria are in line with current thinking about art in the public realm and to allow a longer period for artworks to be completed. The next award will be 2009 and will be for works completed between April 2007 and March 2009.

The award has encouraged many pieces of beautiful, talked about and life enhancing art to Kent’s streets, parks and public buildings and the head of KCC’s new Kent Arts Development Unit, Sally Staples, is excited by the prospect of taking it forward.

“My aim is to take the Unit in a new direction, being more strategic than delivery focussed. One exception to this is the opportunity for us to work alongside the commercial world, as we do with the award. I am also very excited by the homebuilder’s award because with so much new housing and regeneration proposed for the county it is important to create a pride and sense of place by installing art in these developments. The Kings Hill development has an impressive collection of public art throughout the residential and commercial areas and is a great example of this.

“I have seen the award from both sides – I commissioned Aquaflight in Cranbrook’s Weald Sports Centre which won the award in 2000 – and am looking forward to take the award forward and to seeing the new commissions that will result throughout the county.”

Nomination forms and further information can be found on www.rousekentpublicartaward.co.uk.

Picture caption: ‘When the Spirits Soar’ sculpture in Liberty Square at Kings Hill

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