York Trailblazers
Artist Call Out

York Trailblazers, a partnership between Make It York and York Civic Trust, are calling out for several visual art commissions to support a city-wide heritage sculpture trail taking place in Summer-Autumn 2024. 

17 large sculptures of Tansy Beetles, being created from metal and canvas, will be customised by local artists working with community groups with 11 going to public call out currently.

This project is funded by the National Lottery and made possible by National Lottery players. 

Each commission will be awarded £1,000 to cover all the costs of production, development and delivery. 

Artists are invited to apply by sending a portfolio and covering letter to yorktrailblazers@gmail.com. Please see the guidance notes for what should be included in your covering letter.

We are not looking for design submissions at this stage, but asking for a sense of your style and how you would approach this project, working to the requirements of a community group commission.

Please note this project aims to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, so applications which make use of recycled and repurposed materials, leftover paints etc are encouraged. We discourage the use of new plastics or other materials which cannot be easily recycled, or materials with a carbon-intensive production process.

Applications are open until noon on 30 January 2024. Before submitting, please ensure you have read the guidance notes in full which can be found here.

If you would value a conversation to help shape your proposal or to understand more about the project, please contact us on yorktrailblazers@gmail.com for an informal conversation.

Commission Overview

Selected artists will be awarded £1000 for the creation of visual art onto a steel sculpture with an optional canvas covering. The area to customise does not cover the entire structure, but only the wing-casing section, the large part forming the body of the beetle.

Successful artists will receive a full brief from a community group, and a technical brief about the sculpture design, and can meet to discuss, or work directly with the group. 

Commission Timeline

30 January 2024 Applications close at noon
19 February 2024  All applicants will be informed by 19 February
29 February 2024  a full artist brief will be handed over from the organisations doing the research on the Trailblazer
Early May 2024 Beetles to be completed
24 May 2024  Sculpture trail starts
September 2024 Sculpture trail ends

About York Trailblazers

This is a city-wide project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will celebrate some of York’s lesser-known trailblazers – people from our past and present who have made a difference to their communities, the city, or the world. Community and heritage groups are researching and producing visual art commissions on their trailblazer’s life for a temporary sculpture trail for residents and visitors to enjoy in Summer 2024. Schools and young people in York will benefit from workshops and trips to the trail, and the project has funded a programme of community-led activities, enabling more people to celebrate and access heritage in York.

Please see the York Trailblazers project page for more information on the wider project and the trail.

Funding for these commissions is made possible thanks to lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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