Beaconsfield was founded in 1994 by David Crawforth, Angus Neill and Naomi Siderfin with the aim of providing a streamlined resource for the development and presentation of contemporary art and a desire to “fill a niche between the institution, the commercial and the ‘alternative’”.
In 1995 the limited company was awarded charitable status, with trustees Dr Margaret Garlake, Professor Alastair McLennan and Colin Whittington and took the lease on the former Ragged School in Newport Street, Vauxhall, opening the refurbished building to the public in September with what was to become a signature live residency, Plein Air.
Beaconsfield’s artistic agenda was initially developed from that of its predecessor Nosepaint. Co-founded by painters David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin, Nosepaint was a ground-breaking interdisciplinary art event held on a monthly basis between 1991 and 1994. Nosepaint worked with several hundred artists, emergent and established, over this period. This experience combined with the expertise of Angus Neill – now the Director of Felder Fine Art – to form a vision for the new organisation, Beaconsfield: to offer a space for artists and audiences to experience high quality (hence ‘beacon’), challenging, new artworks in a wide range (hence ‘field’) of contemporary visual art media through commissions, group exhibitions, performances, publications and events.
Beaconsfield continues to be directed and curated by David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin who also make work under the moniker of Beaconsfield Artworks or BAW.
Beaconsfield acknowledges its responsibilities as a maker, promoter and facilitator of the arts, which are a potent channel of communication. Beaconsfield believes that the arts should be a guardian of free speech, diversity of expression and democracy and regards its work as contributing to this principle. The charity’s artistic policy promotes dialogue locally, nationally and internationally and aims to reflect the diversity of London, representing a variety of cultural positions.
Beaconsfield puts into practice its belief that sustainable energy and global parity are principles of utmost importance by working with recycled products where possible, running a café using Fairtrade products and recycling its waste. The venue has been running on alternative energy since 2000 – probably the first and only arts organisation in London to be powered by 100% green electricity.