The Earls Court Development Company reveal first artworks created as part of three-year Artist in Residence programme
- The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) and Delancey reveal the first artworks produced as part of a community-led Artist in Residence programme.
- This announcement follows the unveiling of the Earls Court masterplan, which will transform the largely derelict 40-acre site into a destination for entertainment, innovation, and excitement.
- The ambitious programme was launched in January 2023 with involvement from the National Portrait Gallery and renowned artist Marc Quinn.
- The initiative began as an idea of Delancey founder Jamie Ritblat, a long-standing supporter of the National Portrait Gallery’s learning and hospitals programme, and led on from ECDC’s sponsorship of the Gallery’s children’s art sessions at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital
- The chosen artists will create portraits of the local community, and the works of the artists will be incorporated into a wider public art strategy which will look at how art is integrated throughout the development.
- As a community-led programme, weekly community art classes at ECDC’s Community Hub are also being held by the resident artist.
The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) has revealed the first artworks produced as part of its Artist in Residence programme launched earlier this year, further highlighting Delancey and ECDC’s commitment to the arts with this lasting, meaningful community engagement initiative. A total of 12 artists have been selected to develop portraits of the local community over three years, with each residency lasting three months and the artist based in a studio at ECDC’s Community Hub in West Kensington.
The release of the first artworks will be incorporated into a public art strategy looking at how art is integrated throughout the development, to transform the derelict site into a destination for entertainment, innovation and excitement were unveiled last month. The portraits will capture the entire community, and as such will create a collective portrait in itself of the diverse and vibrant local community. ECDC will be looking at potentially installing them across the site and within the buildings themselves, in the hope that they will become a part of the very fabric of the development as it evolves and will be on permanent display for years to come.
The plans include a new park at the heart of the site larger than Trafalgar Square, 15,000 new jobs, a variety of new performance and cultural venues and spaces, and 4,500 homes.
Illustrator Helen McCallum, the first artist to launch the three-year programme, has unveiled drawings of local heroes who contribute to the community in unexpected and often unacknowledged ways. Helen’s artworks, which have been created in crayon, capture a range of community figures – from North End Road Market stallholders to local police officers. The first artworks will be on display for fourweeks at a community exhibition at The Gallery, 26 Lillie Road, from April 5th.
2023 will also see three additional artists take up residencies at Earls Court – London-based Malawian artist Sol Golden, specialising in large-scale paintings, community murals and sculptures, painter Adam Hennessey, and London-based South African artist Kimberly Gundle, known for her bold and vibrant use of colour across sculpture and ceramics.
Exploring many different styles of portraiture, the commissioned artists will work from a variety of mediums and backgrounds to capture the unique identity of the area and its community. The portraits will recognise the activities and occupations of everyday life in and around Earl’s Court, as well as the local histories and hidden stories of this iconic corner of London.
Set to be installed across the completed Earls Court development, the artworks will form an integral part of London’s newest destination, providing an artistic record of community members who contribute to this remarkable neighbourhood.
The community-led programme highlights ECDC’s commitment to involve local people in the transformation of Earls Court, with the chosen artists also hosting weekly art classes and contributing to talks and workshops. From the delivery of the BBC Earth Experience to the launch of the £180,000 Earls Court Community Fund, ECDC has set out a mission to enliven the derelict site to ensure that Earls Court residents can reap the benefits of the redevelopment project from the earliest possible stage.
The programme is a continuation of ECDC’s efforts to provide the community with access to art and culture, first seen in 2022 when young people from the Earl’s Court Youth Club worked with the National Portrait Gallery and Global Street Art to design living wall art hoardings on Old Brompton Road, celebrating the area’s connection to some of the world’s most imaginative figures.
Commenting on the launch of the Artist in Residence programme, Community Lead at The Earls Court Development Company Rebekah Paczek said: “2023 marks a momentous year for Earls Court having shared our emerging vision to bring the wonder back to this part of London last month. Our Artist in Residence programme aims to create a strong legacy of public art and culture for London’s most significant redevelopment opportunity, and I can think of no better way to do that than through working with great artists to create community focused works.
“The programme will ensure that everyone can enjoy the creative spirit of Earls Court through art classes, workshops, and talks with our chosen artists. Working with both the National Portrait Gallery and Marc Quinn shows the sheer ambition of this project. We’re hugely excited to see our chosen artists bring colour, creativity, and life to the site over the coming three years, helping to develop, a truly inclusive and inspiring piece of city.”
Anna Linch, Participation Project Manager at the National Portrait Gallery, said: “The National Portrait Gallery is delighted to support this Artist in Residence programme, which will see the creation of works made by, with and for Earls Court and the wider London community. With a focus on portraiture, the programme will enable artists to respond creatively to their environment – while it undergoes significant development – bringing the personal and social history of the area to life.”
Illustrator Helen McCallum, the first artist for 2023, added: “I’m thrilled to be launching the Earls Court Artist in Residence programme, alongside a selection of other inspiring artists. Working with and alongside the Earl’s Court community to deliver art that truly represents and speaks to local people is an honour. The knowledge that my work will be a significant part of the completed development, forming a fundamental part of the future of Earls Court, is fantastic.”
Notes to Editors
Over 200 applications were received in response to the open call-out for the Artist in Residence programme. All applications were judged by an independent panel. In addition to studio space, the selected applicants will also receive a financial grant for their residency.
The independent judging panel included artist Marc Quinn, a member of the National Portrait Gallery’s learning team, as well as representatives from ECDC, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
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About The Earls Court Development Company
The Earls Court Development Company is a new Earls Court-based business, responsible for driving the development of the Earls Court masterplan forward on behalf of Earls Court Partnership Limited. Earls Court Partnership Limited is the joint venture between Delancey (on behalf of its client funds and the Dutch pension fund manager, APG) and Transport for London (TfL).
The site was purchased in 2019 from its previous owners, Capital and Counties Properties (CapCo). The first decision ECDC took after acquiring the site was to hand back the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates – originally part of the previous owners’ masterplan – to Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
In February 2023, The Earls Court Development Company presented the emerging designs for the masterplan. The draft masterplan proposes:
- A new park at the heart of the site, larger than the size of Trafalgar Square.
- A variety of new performance and community venues and cultural programmes that attract and nurture talent.
- 15,000 new jobs in a new economic centre for West London, and 2,000 construction jobs during the build period
- 4,500 new homes to cater for all needs, targeting 35% affordable across all tenures.
- A plan that delivers for London and the UK, projecting £1.2billion per year GVA to the economy and £100million of annual spend into the local economy.
What’s happening at Earls Court?
Earls Court is London’s biggest redevelopment opportunity, and there is an opportunity to create something extraordinary on this 40-acre site. ECDC has already made progress in the early delivery of cultural and community programmes. This activity includes:
- The BBC Earth Experience will be opening on site on 30 March this year with their attraction Seven Worlds, One Planet. State-of-the-art projection technology will take visitors on a 360-degree journey, guided by the narration of Sir David Attenborough. Tickets for the attraction are now on sale.
- A vibrant pop-up high street on Lillie Road also offers food, drink, and shopping. One unit, called The Pop Up, is a free-to-use retail space, providing a pressure-free environment for new traders.
- In November 2022, ECDC opened the award-winning production of ‘The Great Christmas Feast’ by The Lost Estate at the former Mannequin Factory. The next production – ‘The Jazz Show’ – opened on 9 March 2023.
- A partnership with London Design Festival (the first time LDF has ever come to Earl’s Court) in 2022.
- Underbelly Festival has had two successful summers at Earls Court, transforming the site into a free public beach and open-air cinema alongside street food traders, pop-up bars and games for all ages, with over 160,000 people visiting the festival site over two years.
- The Earls Court community fund of £180,000 is distributed amongst local charities annually since 2021. 2021’s fund helped around 11,000 people, with many more set to benefit this year too.
- In June 2022, we opened a new Community Hub in West Kensington, a flexible space run by and for residents – hosting a range of mostly free activities and classes every week for local people.
- In summer 2022, we launched Empress Studios – a creative workspace initiative that transformed six Victorian townhouses into 46 affordable studios for local creatives and innovators.
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