Michael Gove coconut stall confirmed for Art Party's first conference in Scarborough

By Sarah Jackson | 05 November 2013

The Art Party is putting the finishing touches on its first conference to be held at Scarborough at the end of the month.

A shirtless man wearing a bandage across his eyes is splattered with paint in many different colours.
Alex Dodgson© Courtesy of the Art Party Conference
The programme will feature contributions from artists such as Bob and Roberta Smith, Mark Wallinger, Jeremy Deller and Cornelia Parker.

Co-organised by Bob and Roberta Smith and Scarborough’s Crescent Arts, the conference is the first of its kind. It aims to create a forum for debating the future of the arts in the current climate of spending cuts and changes to education.

“It’s going to be an extraordinary national event," says the artist.

"We want to ask three vital questions: What first turned you onto art? How do you think art should be taught in schools? Why do you think art is important?”

The complete programme will not be available until the week before the event, Confirmed events include The Art Party Beach Parade, to kick off the event, and a performance by Smith of his 2011 piece Letter to Michael Gove, the inspiration behind the conference.

Turner Prize winners Mark Wallinger and Jeremy Deller, Turner Prize nominee Cornelia Parker and other established artists including Oriana Fox and poet Maureen Duffy will be contributing pieces.

Up-and-coming artists attending include Patrick Coyle and Alex Dodgson, who used his own body as a colourful canvas on a cover of the New York Times earlier in the year.

Scarborough’s art scene will be represented by Jade Montserrat, with her tribute to Josephine Baker, and ceramicist Karen Thompson, who will present her own take on a fairground coconut shy – the Goveshy.

As well as presenting new works, the conference also intends to act as a platform to champion the arts in education. As part of this, the National Society for Education in Art and Design will launch its 'alternative curriculum'.

Bob and Roberta Smith said: “It’s going to be a place where people can have their say, take a stand, have a rant, and tell us exactly what’s going on in their world in the arts. With so much creativity on offer, it’s going to be serious fun!”

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More pictures:

A woman with a microphone sits in the middle of an artist studio filled with people painting, sketching and hanging artworks.
Oriana Fox, The Art Party.© Courtesy of the Art Party Conference
An image of a black woman is projected onto another woman's back.
Jade Montserrat.© Courtesy of the Art Party Conference

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Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.

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