Beverley Treasure House Commission for

Contemporary Art

Do you have a fantastic idea for a contemporary art piece to display at Beverley Treasure House? Apply before Friday, 10 July 2020.
How to Apply

Commission Background

The East Riding Visual Arts Uplift is proud to announce this contemporary artistic commission in collaboration with Beverley Treasure House for the year 2020.

There is an all inclusive commission fee of £8,000 available to the shortlisted artist to create a piece of contemporary artwork that is site specific and fits the below artistic brief.

It is envisaged the piece will be installed on site at Beverley Treasure House in October 2020 for an agreed duration of two months with the potential for an accompanying workshop/talk from the artist.

This commission is a part of the East Riding Visual Arts Uplift's commitment to showcasing and integrating contemporary art into the region.

How to apply

Visual Arts Uplift

The East Riding Visual Arts Uplift is working to strengthen the contemporary art offer within the East Yorkshire region.

Working with the Humber Museums Partnership the programme is part of a larger scheme and seeks to deliver on the partnership wide aims as follows:

Break down barriers to engagement with our visual art offering ensuring our programme is responsive to the needs and engages our target audience.
Work with artists, creative practitioners and arts organisations to develop new visual arts programming in a meaningful and sustainable way maintaining investment in artistic and cultural programming across the Humber.
Enhance and support the delivery of our successful 'Surroundings' Ambitions for Excellence bid, in partnership with award winning arts and science organisation, Invisible Dust.

Introduction to Beverley Treasure House

The treasure house is part of the original town library and art gallery. The iconic building stands tall in the heart of Beverley.

In the late 19th century, public galleries were opening across the country. The trend was growing popular as galleries provided education and a morally uplifting purpose to local residents. In 1902 Beverley, local man John Champney approached the town council and offered to fund a building to house both a public library and museum and art gallery. Another local man, William Spencer donated further funds to the venture, buying the plot of land where the Edwardian building stands today.

The library and a picture gallery, showcasing the proud portraits of its benefactors, opened in 1906. Four years later the museum and art gallery was formally opened. The first exhibitions included an Italian Madonna, a portrait of Archbishop Rokeby by Angelica Kauffman R.A. and works by local artist Fred Elwell. As was customary of the time, museum relics were displayed alongside the densely covered walls of art.

Seeing the popularity of the building, in 1928 Champney once again funded renovations to the building. This added a new wing, housing the reference library on the ground floor, and the second art gallery above it.

In 2007, the heritage lottery funding meant the creation of the East Riding Treasure House. This added the tower, with its spectacular views across the market town, archives and installed disabled access so everybody could enjoy the culture on display. The stores were upgraded with environmentally controlled technology, helping to preserve the collections of East Riding Museums for generations to come.

Visit Beverley Treasure House


We have decided not to set a restricting theme, we want artists to have free rein over the ideas they submit to us. However, we are keen that the artworks meet a brief and respond where possible to the heritage and surroundings of the local area.

The work proposed and produced must be contemporary art, that is both challenging and of a high quality. We want artists to add their own style, create something that showcases what they do as an artist to intrigue the audience and bring a taste of contemporary visual art to the East Riding.

The piece must work in the specified space (details below) . We do not have the option of flexibility to site the piece elsewhere and so you must show that you have responded to the allocated location.

The duration of the piece should remain in place for around two months to give our audience the opportunity to view and experience the offerings. This can be discussed with the artist and an agreement reached.

As mentioned above there is scope for an accompanying workshop/talk to be staged alongside the main commissioned piece, this is not an expectation of the artist; merely an extended opportunity. Though, we would be interested to work with artists who would be willing to commit to a workshop or talk relating their artistic practices. A key element of the Visual Arts Uplift aims is to break down the barrier between the public and contemporary art, providing a barrier free interaction between the creator would prove an ideal route to achieve this.

The commission has a fixed fee of £8,000 inc. all travel/accommodation expenses and materials. Beverley Treasure House expects to loan the finished piece in for the duration of the exhibition, but not to own the finished work. We would expect to use images of the work in promotional material for the exhibition and during the display itself. We would expect the artist to come to the opening of the exhibition.

Additional fees have been retained for site logistics and installation/display needs of the piece.

Please Note: Your idea must be feasible, both in terms of budget and practicality.

How to apply

How the commission will workBelow is an outline of how the commission will run:

Open call is released
Selection to be staged

Artists to be informed of decision and successful applicant contracted

Successful applicant invited for a site visit with the venue to look at any logistics
July - September
Piece build

Accompanying exhibition/workshops/talk logistics finalised
Piece installed on site

Launch of the commission

How to apply

Criteria for submission

  • Your work must be safely constructed for displaying to the public.
  • The venue is open during daylight hours. Light based installations will not be suitable.
  • The piece is to be installed in October (Ideally the W/C 7th October), for a set duration of time (two months) - This may change due to current government restrictions.
  • Temporary, high quality contemporary artwork that will excite, inspire and entertain a diverse audience of all ages.
  • It is essential that you think through how your piece will be realised in terms of practicality and budget.
  • The funding available for this commission is £8,000. This is an all inclusive fee that includes the artistic fee, travel, accommodation and materials.

Expression of interest application

To apply, download the application pack and complete the form at the bottom of the page.

Return the form either electronically or by post to the contact details available at the bottom of the application pack.

Any queries must go through the contact on the application pack.

Download application pack (PDF) Download application pack (Word Doc)