‘New Creators’ competition ArtVaults 2008

Sarah Misselbrook has been commissioned by ArtVaults to act as mentor to the winning students from Winchester School of Art and Hounsdown School.


Students from Winchester School of Art and Hounsdown Science College in Totton have won a rare opportunity to exhibit at ArtVaults, Southampton’s largest art event. The winning artworks for the ‘New Creators’ competition will be exhibited in the city’s medieval vaults every weekend from 12 July to 21 September, along with the contemporary works of 11 professional artists. Last summer ArtVaults attracted 19,000 visitors.

‘New Creators’ is the brainchild of Daniel Crow, director of arts organisation ‘a space’ which organises the ArtVaults project, and has been funded by Arts & Business and Lyndhurst-based company INEOS. “We have always tried to promote emerging artists, and introduced the competition for the first time this year to attract a new generation of talent,” said Crow. We invited local entries from school years 10 to 13 and higher education students, and received some really imaginative ideas. The winners were selected because their designs connected so well with the vaults’ architecture and history.”

Higher Education category winners Sarah Tyler and Alyce Taylor are just finishing the second year of their Fine Art degree at Winchester School of Art. “Students at this stage wouldn’t usually expect to exhibit work at such a major public show so ArtVaults is a fantastic opportunity for them,” said Sarah Misselbrook, a professional artist commissioned by ArtVaults to act as mentor to the winning students.


ArtVaults ‘New Creators’ competition winners (Higher Education category) Alyce Taylor, left, and Sarah Tyler, right, are students at Winchester School of Art. Sarah Misselbrook, centre, is a professional artist commissioned by ArtVaults to act as mentor to the winning students.

“Their sculpture and textile designs will be site-specific installations, well suited to the special vault environment,” she added. “It’s going to be a multi-sensory experiment. Materials will include flour for example, so as well as enjoying the look and feel of the works, visitors will also experience the aroma of dough.”

The winning proposal from Hounsdown Science College, Totton, is a joint entry by Lewis Jones and Abigail Davis, both aged 14, who have responded to the vaults’ war-time history and the city’s aviation heritage. Their idea is to construct a Spitfire plane which has crashed through the wall of the vault. “While this doesn’t represent a specific incident, it’s an interesting and relevant way to connect Southampton’s medieval architecture with its more recent past,” commented Crow.

Lee Wallwork, art teacher at Houndsdown Science College said: “The children have been really inspired by such a cutting edge art competition. The chance to work with a practising artist and have their vision developed in such a thought provoking environment is very exciting.”


Supported by the rest of their art class, Lewis and Abigail will be working with Sarah Misselbrook to develop and construct the installation, which will be dramatised with light, sound and smoke effects.

Misselbrook will be calling on her own experience with the special demands of heritage sites, and her knowledge of the vaults from exhibiting at ArtVaults Season One in 2004. “The vaults present practical challenges for artists, particularly because you can’t fix anything to the structure. I’ll be helping the students to overcome this and to develop their works so that they become intrinsic to the space.”

‘New Creators’ competition winners from Hounsdown Science College

ArtVaults ‘New Creators’ competition winners (year 10 – 13 category) Abigail Davis, left, and Lewis Jones, right, are students at Hounsdown Science College, Totton. Art teacher Lee Wallwork is shown centre, with the rest of the art class looking on.

Exhibiting art in the city’s medieval vaults draws a wider audience than might be expected at a gallery, believes Crow. “The locations are a major attraction, providing unique settings for contemporary art compared with the neutral backdrop you find at galleries. These are existing historic spaces with cultural and emotional resonance, and this produces more interesting and varied responses from visitors.”

Both of the New Creators installations will deliver a full sensory experience, which he expects to be more appealing for families and younger visitors. “The vault environment and the nature of these works means there will be more interaction for people, helping to break down the boundaries sometimes experienced in galleries.”

The ArtVaults project, now in its fourth season, is a collaboration between the Conservation Department of Southampton City Council and the ‘a space’ arts organisation, and is sponsored by Lyndhurst-based chemicals company INEOS. The annual event presents an opportunity to explore Southampton’s historic medieval vaults, which are usually closed, and to see a collection of contemporary artwork from the country’s finest artistic talents.

As part of the prize, the winning students will be given a budget to construct and install their winning proposals. Their work will also feature in an exhibition about ArtVaults at the Bargate Monument Gallery and will be included in the show catalogue.

Editorial contact:
Brian Davenport/ Richard Broughton
Dryden Brown Limited
Building 2, Shamrock Quay
Southampton SO14 5QL, UK
t: 023 8022 9041
f: 023 8022 7274

Note to editors:
Photographs: images of vaults available on request. ArtVaults Season Three (2007) can be viewed at www.myspace.com/ArtVaults
About a space: The arts organisation a space supports emerging artistic talent and enables the development of sustainable careers within the arts. We endeavour to build the reputations of early career artists through encouraging the creation and exhibition of new works. Our exhibitions also supply the public with an alternative visual arts programme, not dominated by established names. The organisation delivers its objectives through a growing infrastructure, which currently consists of three major project platforms: the Bargate Monument Gallery, ArtVaults and the Arches studio complex

t: 023 80 338778

About INEOS: INEOS is the world’s third largest chemicals company, manufacturing petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products. Comprising 18 businesses, with a production network spanning 68 manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, the company produces more than 30 million tonnes of petrochemicals and 20 million tons per annum of crude oil refined products (fuels). INEOS employs 15,000 people and has annual sales of around $36bn.

t: 023 80 287000

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