This project was proposed in response to an invitation by the curators at Compton Verney to take part in a project looking at the idea of Artists' Walks. We suggested a Sponsored Walk as a live art event that would raise money to purchase a new work of art, to be collectively owned by the walkers, and placed on loan to the Compton Verney Collection which reopened to the public in 2004 .
Adopting the traditional format for sponsored walks Pope and Guthrie will utilise this accessible format to encourage a participating audience of walkers to fundraise for the purchase of a new work of art. By opting to participate each walker will then be eligible to nominate and subsequently vote for the artwork that the raised funds will purchase.
Participants for the walk will be sought locally through clubs, events, talks and publicity and from further afield via adverts in the national arts press, on-line information, fine art societies, widely distributed guidelines and registration forms. Participants may choose to take part for any number of reasons - a fun day out, interest in art, wanting to meet other people, interest in Compton Verney, interest in taking part in a live art project, or even wanting to nominate their own work of art for purchase!
Once they have signed up for the walk participants will be encouraged to raise funds via the usual sponsorship forms, encouraging a wider audience to engage with the idea of the walk. Pope and Guthrie will stage the day of the walk as a live art event - recording and documenting it as such. They will utilise all the familiar trappings of 'sponsored walk culture' - balloons, t shirts, banners, fancy dress and novelty walks - all the paraphernalia generated for the walk will be created as artists' editions by Pope and Guthrie and given to the walkers at the end of the day.
Prior to the walk each participant will be asked to nominate one work of art for purchase, dependant on funds raised. This could be by a local or internationally known artist, a permanent sculpture or a transient performance piece. Each walker will be encouraged to familiarise themselves with all of the nominated artists and their work, but also to 'pitch' for their nominee by contributing to the project website where a permanent record of all the nominated artworks will be generated. Each walker will collaborate with Pope and Guthrie to develop a page describing the piece they would like to buy and the reasoning behind their choice. To encourage participants, Pope and Guthrie will supplement the website by giving talks locally and at arts venues about their own work, the collection at Compton Verney and possible outcomes for the project.
Finally the walkers will be able to place a vote for their favourite work - obviously with the exception of the one they have actually nominated! This will take place via email (for walkers who don't live locally) and a show of hands at a final meeting of the group - soliciting votes from fellow walkers will be very much encouraged at this event. Finally the elected work will be left in the care of Compton Verney on the understanding that it can be shown there (along side information about the walk, its origins, and a list of it's 'owners') or given out on 'loan' to any of the walker/owners for display at other chosen venues or in their own homes.
Research local interest groups, artists, walkers, WI etc. etc.
Produce publicity materials and sponsorship forms
Establish website and on-line registration etc.
Publicise the walk via Talks to local groups about other projects etc.
Develop pages for each nominated art work on the website in collaboration with the walkers.
Group familiarise themselves with each work nominated - discussion encouraged on-line among participants and developing 'audience' for the project.
Legal document drawn up describing the 'status' of the final artwork - copyright & ownership, and the responsibilities of Compton Verney as the project administrators.
Collect funds raised
Based on funds raised finalise list of nominated works.
Group votes for chosen work - 1 vote per walker
Elected work is loaned to Compton Verney, and offered on a rotational basis to any of the walkers/owners for display in their own homes or at other suitable venues.
Project Aims :
To generate a stimulating and possibly humorous live art event.
To question the 'top down' 'single vision' model of arts patronage represented by houses and/or collections such as Compton Verney.
To challenge the existing idea of the 'artist's walk' or 'artist as walker'.
To give people living locally and nationally a voice in the purchase of a new work for a local collection or their own homes.
To provide an accessible way into talking about art production, funding, sponsorship and patronage.
Sadly for various logistical reasons we had to abandon this project after a fair amount of development, the proposal above was one of the later versions of an often re-visited document! We think the proposal remains an interesting challenge to the idea of a private collection and who owns such work.