Peabody announces £200,000 open arts commission

London’s oldest housing association, Peabody, has announced a £200,000 open arts commission to improve the Thamesmead area as part of a Cultural Infrastructure Plan.

Peabody was established in 1862 by American banker and philanthropist, George Peabody, and is the capital’s oldest housing association. With 66,000 homes in its stock, it houses 111,000 people. The idea is to use cultural initiatives to build community engagement in Thamesmead.

Adriana Marques, head of cultural strategy for Thamesmead, Peabody, said: “People and communities make great places, with culture and creativity an essential part of them. Thamesmead already has a growing cultural scene, with a community of artists, artist studios at the flagship Lakeside Centre, a programme of ambitious outdoor events, and a new artist-led project space, bookshop, gallery and radio station.

“The Thamesmead Open will take this to a new level, providing an unprecedented opportunity for artists to respond to this unique and remarkable place.

“With our commitment to create a network of new cultural spaces throughout the town, culture is embedded in everything we do. We want people to be proud to call Thamesmead home. A home for culture in our great city.”

The competition opening coincides with the publication of the Cultural Infrastructure Plan for Thamesmead, the first to be published in London. ‘A home for culture in London’s new town’ forms a key part of Peabody’s long-term cultural strategy, and will serve as a blueprint for creating the cultural facilities that Thamesmead must provide to create a culturally rich and vibrant new town for London, which is expected to hold 100,000 residents by 2030 with 20,000 new homes.

For the commission, artists must react to the unique setting of Thamesmead with proposals that directly respond to the location and encourage engagement with it.

The Thamesmead Open budget of £200,000 can be spread over two years to cover artist and organisation fees, production costs and travel. The project must be completed by March 2022.

The panel of judges will include Thamesmead residents and representatives from Greenwich Council and Bexley Council. The winner of the competition will be announced in June 2020.

More information here.