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Gallery, Sector Development

Foreground

Fore­ground com­mis­sions new art­works and learn­ing pro­grammes in the diverse social and phys­i­cal struc­tures of communities.

Foreground brings new art to new audiences. Without boundaries.

Working primarily in the South West of England, we deliver an ambitious programme that spans commissioning new artworks and learning programmes in the diverse social and physical structures of communities, and inspire audiences of all ages through participation, collaborative learning and critical discussion. This is driven by our commitment to bringing the highest quality cultural provision to areas and audiences who have little access to it due to geographic, economic or social constraints.

To create these programmes we bring diverse partners together to make distinctive projects happen. We commission artists without acknowledging the boundaries often placed around where art is expected to appear in society. We create social collaborations that redefine roles, which see social communities become artistic collaborators and councils, companies and institutions explore new ways to engage with the public.

Foreground was founded in 2007 in a response to the lack of national quality contemporary art programming in Somerset and the surrounding counties.

Between 2008 – 2014 the majority of Foreground’s commissions and cultural programmes were realised in the Somerset market town of Frome. These projects, such as Intervention / Decoration (2008), Independent State (2009), Notes from Nowhere (2012) and Instructions for an Ordinary Utopia (2014), often focused on exploring how the location of commissioned art works in the social and physical structures of communities and the participation of the public in the formation of ideas with artists could make these projects more accessible to new audiences.

From 2014, Foreground’s ambitions evolved and the organisation began to move its focus from commissioning public artwork exclusively in Frome, to bringing work of international quality to audiences in other areas of the South West who would otherwise have limited access due to geographical, social or economic constraints, building on commissions the organisation had produced in the public realm in Bristol in previous years. This has resulted in acclaimed programmes of work delivered over extended periods of time, building audiences and legacy for cultural activity in areas where there has previously been little or no provision.

Foreground continues to expand its programme both geographically and in terms of diversity of its programming. Now operating from offices in Frome and Bristol, 2019 has seen the organisation enter into major partnerships that demonstrate Foreground’s commitment to put learning at all levels at the core of its programming ethos. These partnerships include the Science Museum Group, on a joint commission for the National Collections Centre and with the University of the West of England on the collaborative research programme Document & Location.

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