Jerwood Visual Arts (JVA) and Forestry Commission England (FCE) have announced a major new commission opportunity for artists to propose a public art work within England’s Public Forest Estate. Jerwood Open Forest has no project brief, with the organisers calling for ‘bold, broad‐thinking proposals that explore the potential of forests as sites for art, both in and about the environment’.

This is first time that FCE has opened its forests for artists to propose work through a call for entry. It is hoped that the project will facilitate new interactions between artists and the environment, whilst offering unique art experiences to a wide public audience.

Proposals for the £30,000 commission can be in any discipline or medium including temporary works or touring projects. To apply, artists must be resident in the UK and within fifteen years of graduating from their undergraduate degree or starting their career as an artist. There is an entry fee of £25 by online application.

Following recent criticism on Twitter regarding the Open Forest application fee – in which Northern Art Prize-nominated artist Emily Speed stated, ‘I have a no entry fee policy… I think it’s important’ – Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, told a-n: “The entry fees that we charge for any Jerwood Visual Arts initiative are essential to maintaining the level of opportunities that we currently offer. We do try to keep these as low as possible, and understand that they represent a significant commitment from artists applying.

“Jerwood Visual Arts, and more broadly the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, has a particular remit to identify and support outstanding emerging artists. We aim to develop projects, like Jerwood Open Forest, through which artists can realise ambitious ideas with both financial and practical, developmental support behind them.”

Five artists will be shortlisted from the initial Open Forest submission and each will receive £2,000 to further develop their ideas over a six-month period. The research process will culminate in a curated exhibition of the five projects at JVA at Jerwood Space, London, from which one artist will be selected to realise their proposal.

The selection panel for Jerwood Open Forest includes: Michaela Crimmin, co‐founder, Culture+ConflictTania Kovats, artist; Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation; Hayley Skipper, Curator of Arts Development, Forestry Commission England.

Reflecting upon the unique qualities of the project, Manson added: “We are looking for strong ideas, not necessarily proven experience of working on this scale or in this context. Through this new partnership with Forestry Commission England, we can provide the right support for an artist to make a leap in their practice.”

Jerwood Open Forest – deadline for entries: 5pm, 28 May 2013.

More on

ProfileJerwood Charitable Foundation

Knowledge bankCommissions – Profiles, Discussions and Guides

ArchiveTania Kovats: Maintaining visibility