THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF SCULPTORS – FIRST PLINTH: PUBLIC ART AWARD 2021

First Plinth: Public Art Award 2021 is designed to offer sculptors an opportunity to extend their practice into competing for public art commissions. The winning sculptor is awarded £15,000 to produce a large-scale sculpture for the sculpture terrace at Dora House before moving to a second site at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The award theme is Resolve.

ABOUT THE PRIZE

This biennial award is open to any artist working in three dimensions, providing a unique and rare opportunity for the winner to build a track record in the competitive arena of public art.

The fabrication of the winning work is supported by the award, with the winner receiving mentoring from a team of experienced professionals – engineers, consultants and artists – to ensure the concept is delivered to the exacting standards required of work to be installed in public spaces.

This award is generously supported by the Mirisch & Lebenheim Charitable Foundation

THE BRIEF

First Plinth: Public Art Award is designed to closely replicate the public art commissioning procedure. The award’s aim is to challenge, yet support the sculptor through this process. Like most public art commissions there is a theme and therefore value will be attributed to a well-considered approach to the theme of Resolve. Open to interpretation and approach, we hope this theme encourages applicants to push the boundaries of their practice.

The winner of First Plinth: Public Art Award will create an innovative work for the sculpture terrace at Dora House to be shown in 2022, before moving to a second site at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

ROYAL SOCIETY OF SCULPTORS – sculpture terrace

The sculpture terrace is part of the Royal Society of Sculptors site at 108 Old Brompton Road. Please see below for full information regarding this space:

Dimensions: approximately 6 x 3.5m

Work will sit directly upon the ground

Weight bearing: approximately 2000 kg

Foundations: existing concrete foundation 2.5 x 2.5 m to a depth of 20cm

Covering: gravel

Lighting: floodlit at night; external power socket for additional electricity/lighting

QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK – SOUTH PLAZA

The former site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is free to enter, and enjoyed by millions of visitors every year. The south of the Park contains the London Aquatics Centre and the London Stadium – former Games-time venues, now in everyday use – and the stunning ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor. It is designed as a modern-day ‘Pleasure Garden’, with plants from around the world, including prairie-style planting from celebrated designer Piet Oudolf. Not far away is Fantasticology meadow which is the largest colour segregated meadow in the UK created for the Games as a heritage art piece referencing the area’s industrial past. This planting complements the Park’s fountains, playgrounds and spaces to rest and relax, including access to east London’s historic waterways. At night, the main route through the south of the Park is lit by coloured lights, creating beautiful patterns of shadow.

THE JUDGES

Clare Burnett

President of the Royal Society of Sculptors

Clare Burnett is President of the Royal Society of Sculptors. In her practice she tackles the dilemmas of 21st century living – technology, consumerism, migration - and how we find compromises to navigate them. Using wood, stainless steel, bronze, concrete, resin, plastic and clay, she sites works in groups or in locations that draw gentle attention to the issue in question. Clare has completed site-specific installations in spaces such as Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation, Brompton and Norwood Cemeteries and Bishopsgate Square. She has shown outdoor sculpture at Meadow Arts, Cheeseburn, Hannah Peschar and Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer. Solo exhibitions include Leighton House Museum, William Benington Gallery and the University of Leeds and she has shown at the RA, the National Gallery, the Jerwood Space, the RIBA and the Royal Society of Sculptors. She is represented in the UK by William Benington Gallery.

Hannele Tilles

Curator

Hannele Tilles has curated several exhibitions in her native Finland. She has a long-standing interest in art, particularly sculpture, and has served in previous juries for Public Art Awards at the Royal Society of Sculptors. She was also a jury member for the Society’s SKULPTUR project, an exhibition of work from all five Nordic countries. Hannele is also involved with a new art prize BELOW ZERO with Beaconsfield Gallery in London and serves as a juror for a triennial art prize at Galicia Museum in Krakow, Poland

Ruth Holmes

DESIGN PRINCIPAL, LANDSCAPE AND PUBLIC REALM LONDON LEGACY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

For over eleven years Ruth worked for The Royal Parks, as Head of Landscape and Project Sponsor for major projects, until moving to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park nearly 2 years ago. At The Royal Parks she was responsible for caring for the historic landscapes and accommodating events like Frieze Art (The Regent’s Park), Anish Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down (Kensington Gardens) and permanent art installations. At LLDC she is responsible for guiding development of landscape and the public realm over the Park and regeneration area. Currently she is working with the East Bank Partners (V&A, Sadler’s Wells, BBC and UAL’s London College of Fashion) to implement art within the public realm for the Stratford Waterfront site.

Bill Price

Bill Price is a director at WSP and worked on the Shard at London Bridge from the earliest stages of design development to completion in 2015. Bill has worked with many artists and sculptors for over 20 years assisting with engineering, safety, transportation and site activities. Bill is currently project director for the Paddington Square development and range of other infrastructure and public realm initiatives. Bill is also a trustee of the Rose Theatre in Kingston, supporting original drama and family shows as well as a wide range of community engagement.

Rosie Glenn

History of Art graduate, Rosie Glenn has been involved with the art community for over 30 years. Starting out in Cork Street, Rosie worked with Cristea Roberts Gallery before establishing Rosie Glenn Fine Art in 1997. Operating within both the public and private sectors, Rosie manages varied art collections and programmes. Keen to promote creative talent, Rosie has worked alongside several Royal Society of Sculptors members to present exhibitions and events. Recent permanent installations commissioned within her British Land role, include Liz West’s Colour Transfer at Paddington Central and Broadgate’s LOOM by Ronan Devlin and Michael Flückiger. In addition, current collaborations involve infrastructure development and rejuvenation projects for landmark destinations. Throughout, engagement and wellbeing remain important aspects. Rosie regularly develops workshops and events for clients, their partners and communities, often leading Art Tours for initiatives such as London Design Festival and Open House. Further areas of interest include logistics and contractual elements. Image credits - Rosie Glenn at Broadgate with The Mechanics' Institute by William Tillyer. Collection British Land. Photography by Holly Wren.

ENTRY FEE

Entry fees are:

Non RSS members – £32.50

RSS members – £22.50

ENTRY PROCESS

To complete this application, please provide the following:

  • 5 images of recent work or work which relates to this award
  • A CV of no more than two pages long
  • A description of your present practice (200 words)
  • A statement on how winning the award will move your practice on (200 words)
  • Please outline your idea for the theme of Resolve (200 words)

The closing deadline for applications is 5pm Monday 15 February 2021. Unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive feedback will not be given at this stage. Notification of all results will be sent by email in the week commencing 01 March 2021.

Please note that the application fee is non-refundable.

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