Commissioning new art to enhance its church building can be one of the most exciting journeys that a parish will undertake.
Whatever the date of your church, a new work of art will, by its very nature, become the heritage of the future, be it a stained glass window, a sculpture, a textile, a painting, liturgical furniture and furnishings or other installation.
To make the journey straightforward and rewarding for both parishes and artists the Church Buildings Council has refreshed its guidelines on commissioning new art. Illustrated with inspirational and, in some cases, prize-winning artworks, the full guidelines can be downloaded here.
A simple flowchart provides a step-by-step overview of the key considerations which include:
- Why? The motivation and rationale for commissioning new art
- Who will organise the commission and how? Setting up a commissioning group and writing a brief
- Who will be the artist? Advice on appointing the right artist for the brief. Please see our guidance note on choosing artists here.
- What? The process once an artist has been selected through to completion of the artwor
- Will it be temporary? A useful consideration of the place of temporary works, exhibitions and loans in churches
Specific guidance on new glass for your church can be found here.
The guidelines also address welcoming the artwork into the building and looking after it, as well as the legal framework (contracts and the faculty system) and insurance issues.