Art and Architecture

A Brief History of Art and Architecture (1/4)

Art and Architecture was founded after the 1982 Art and Architecture conference at the Institute of Contemporary Art as the logical outcome of a sequence of events, competitions and meetings which had identified inadequacies in the provision of art to the public at large. Out of the passions aroused at the conference came a list of four priorities and separate groups met to consider Per Cent for Art legislation, Live Project Commissions, Events and Information and Education. The four groups then joined together under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Shepheard to form Art and Architecture. A hybrid, with no single manifesto, its symbiotic and interdisciplinary nature was part of its strength.

The Legislation group examined Percent for Art elsewhere in the world. Henry Lydiate, a barrister well known for his ArtLaw organisation, produced a series of influential articles on the Per Cent systems which were instrumental in developing the 'One Percent' policies later adopted by local government bodies nationwide. The Live Projects group liaised briefly with the London Docklands Development Corporation and this type of initiative was to bear fruit at other major redevelopments such as Broadgate, Cardiff Bay and the national garden festivals. Events organised splendid series of lectures and visits. Information and Education produced the Newsletter under its first editor, Tim Ostler.

Jane Riches organised the main public events of the Society's early years, beginning with a double forum at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol in January 1983. The "Art, Architecture and Public Participation" conference at the Whitechapel Gallery in June '83 was followed by the Gulbenkian Foundation funded two day national conference 'Children, Planning and Play', drawing a mixed audience of 700 in September '84. These conferences were the first to place the then new development of community based architectural practices in an academic frame and the interest of the Prince of Wales in community architecture directly followed.

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