Art check – setting up projects

The Channel 4 Big Art Project set up a number of projects across the UK, and encouraged people to develop community art. As part of that, the following set of questions was created.
Artcheck was designed by the Urban Design Alliance for Channel 4.

Full checklist

The people – Who needs to be involved?

Stakeholders – Who has an interest in the future of the place through living, working, playing, visiting, providing services or investing here?

Local knowledge – Who has local knowledge?

Finance – Who manages budgets that might be used for public art?

Control, regulation and standards – Who controls, regulates or sets standards here? Who would we need to ask for permission?

Policy – Who draws up policies, plans, briefs and strategies that affect the place?

Opinion – Who shapes opinion locally?

Action – Who makes things happen around here?

Collaboration – How can all these people work together on the Artcheck and beyond?

Your goal

How would you like the art to work in your neighbourhood?

What do you hope to achieve?

* Entertain
* Inspire
* Make the place look better
* Bring life to the place
* Kick-start community activity
* Create a sense of civic pride
* Something else.

Where else could this project go? Could your whole community benefit?
Think about:

* Further community activity
* Education and skills
* Employment.

Art can have a range of purposes, but remember, it cannot rescue an unsatisfactory environment on its own.

Context checklist

What is distinctive about your area? Can the context trigger ideas for art?

Landscape and environment

* Geology
* Hydrology, rivers, streams
* Ecology
* Sky
* Weather.

Local architecture – How would the proposal fit into the surrounding area? Look at local architectural and garden styles.

Materials

* Local
* Sustainable
* Renewable
* Traditional imported materials used in local trades.

History

* Famous people
* Locally significant people
* Historic buildings and sites
* War or peace.

Culture

* Art
* Music
* Song
* Literature
* Dance
* Food
* Trades
* Local communities
* Local skills.

Religion

* Events and rituals

Sport

* Local teams

Practicalities

It is as well to think about practicalities in advance. Who will own it, who will fund it and who will give professional advice? Maintenance, if it is needed, can sometimes be a bigger task than creating the art in the first place.

Maintenance

* Who will install it?
* Who will maintain it?
* Who will repair it?

Ageing – Will its function or appearance change over time; for example, through rust, rot, dirt, algae, wear and tear, breakage, vandalism and so on? Will this matter? If it does, organise some security.

Liability and insurance – Who will take responsibility?

Support programmes and projects – How can we make the most of other programmes and community networks?

Council programmes – How can we help the local council to focus its own programmes and resources on improving this area?

Education and training – How can links be developed with education and training programmes locally?

Sustainable development – How can links be made with local authority sustainable development initiatives?

Economic development – How can links be made between economic development and environmental improvement strategies locally?

Grants – What sources of grants are available locally?

Social inclusion – How can links be made with neighbourhood renewal and social inclusion initiatives?

How can we make the most of other resources?

* Community funding
* External funding
* Sponsorship.

Resources

What resources are available locally to help people get involved?

Think about

* Organisations
* Advice
* Venues
* Training programmes
* Grant schemes.

Your network
Programmes and advice on arts and regeneration local to you might be at your:

* Local authority
* Local community arts group
* District authority
* Regional Arts Council
* Regional Development Agency
* Regional Cultural Consortium.

Support – What resources to support people working together are already available (including information and advice services, venues, training programmes, grant schemes and funded initiatives)?

Skills – What skills are available to help create art?

Guidance – What guidance or expertise can the local authority or other bodies provide?

A focus – Is there a centre that can be a venue for meetings; for example, a local school or college, or a religious or community centre?

Sharing visions – Should events be organised to identify common interests, discuss ideas, share information and experience, and enable people to organise themselves into continuing working groups focusing on specific topics?