New Funds, New Name, New Future


Visual Arts South West are delighted to announce that we have been successful in obtaining funds from Arts Council England which will help us strengthen the visual arts sector in the South West region over the next two years.

We have been awarded just under £150,000 by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme.  This major award will enable us to deliver exciting new projects including:

  • An artist mentoring scheme
  • A programme to develop Critical Writing
  • A major audience engagement study
  • Collaborative work with the museums sector through New Expressions
  • A Cultural Leadership programme
  • Research and development for major new contemporary art biennial

 Working with artists, partner organisations, groups and individuals, our programme will foster new ways of working, strengthen existing activity and networks and encourage greater regional collaboration in order to build a strong and valued visual arts sector in the South West. 

Visual Arts South West, over the past two years has quickly established itself as a key resource for the region.  Our expertise and awareness of what the needs are of the sector has been recognised and supported by Arts Council England through the awarding of this grant and therefore signals a new period of activity and growth in our activities, for the benefit of the Region.   

Our new namefrom Turning Point South West to Visual Arts South West also marks our new independent status.  We will shortly be launching a new website which will map the visual arts in the South West, provide a valuable platform for critical exchange and discussion and be a tool to better connect artists, organisations and audiences.

Tom Trevor, Chair of VASW, said “Turning Point South West has come a long way in the past two years, with the support of Arts Council England. The change of name to Visual Arts South West marks a new phase in the development of the network, as well as our independence from ACE. This coincides with the national name change from Turning Point to Contemporary Visual Arts Network. Our aim is to be a strong voice for the visual arts sector in the region, and we are already developing a wide range of projects in partnership with agencies such as Alias, Engage, Curatorial network, Contemporary Arts Society and Audiences SW. We have devised and are delivering our programme under four key areas of focus: Collaboration, Audiences, Criticality and Economy. The major award through ACE Grants for the Arts will enable us to push forward with this partnership work, and develop a programme of activity across the region, working for a stronger visual arts sector.”

Artist Julie McCalden said “As an artist and co-director of Motorcade/FlashParade in Bristol I have benefitted enormously from Turning Point South West. Their critical, timely and relevant events have opened up a space to engage with the issues that concern the whole sector, through presentations and dialogue between artists and arts professionals. These network strengthening sessions are a fantastic opportunity to become informed and be involved in shaping solutions. The Turning Point South West Curatorial Bursary, which supported ‘Bread & Roses’, has had a huge impact on the development of my curatorial practice at M/FP.”

In addition to delivering new projects, we will continue our work supporting and developing excellence in artists and arts organisations, empowering the sector with greater skills and knowledge, providing greater opportunities for collaboration within the region and beyond, developing a better understanding of audiences and extending reach, and providing leadership and advocacy for the visual arts in the South West.