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Semi-derelict former Lambeth Ragged Schools, 1994/5.

Beaconsfield was founded to provide a streamlined resource for the development and presentation of contemporary art with ambition  to “fill a niche between the institution, the commercial and the ‘alternative’” (Beaconsfield, 1994).

On 21 November 1994 Beaconsfield was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and awarded charitable status on 31 May 1995. In July 1995 Beaconsfield took the lease on the derelict former Lambeth Ragged Schools in Newport Street, Vauxhall and  refurbished the building to art centre standards and opening  to the public with Plein Air, Mattias Jackisch (DDR) and Felix Ziem (Fr), 14 September – 13 October 1995: a public-facing exhibition-residency with  Jackisch performing in the company of a  19th century oil painting.

Beaconsfield’s artistic agenda was  developed from that of its peripatetic  predecessor Nosepaint, a Friendly Society running an experimental,  art event held on a monthly basis between 1991 and 1994. Following its first event on 25 May 1991, several hundred artists, emergent and established, performed and exhibited over this period, curated in interdisciplinary  programmes for the first Saturday of every month. In 1993, Nosepaint was awarded its first Arts Council grant. Co-founded by artists David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin, Nosepaint paved the way for a new artists’ project, Beaconsfield, based in a permanent venue. A vision for the ‘new constellation’ Beaconsfield combined the curatorial experience of Nosepaint with the expertise of Angus Neill –  who from 1997 moved on from Beaconsfield to establish Felder Fine Art.

The Beaconsfield project continues to be directed by co-founders David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin who also make artworks under the moniker of BAW (Beaconsfield Art Works).

Beaconsfield as a primary research vehicle

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