Mowlem Visual Arts

Swanage and Purbeck have for centuries attracted visual artists who have responded to the beauty of the land and seascape. The names are well known but include Turner, Augustus John, Paul Nash, the Bloomsbury group, Graham Sutherland, Anthony Caro to name but a few. The Slade School regularly sent students to work in the area and to this day there are many creative visual artists who live and work in Purbeck and the surrounding area.

Our 2021 consultation with the community identified a significant appetite for exhibitions of visual arts at the Mowlem. In response we have developed the Mowlem Visual Arts scheme, open to all artists with a connection to the area.

How To Apply

How to Apply

Mowlem Visual Arts is an initiative aimed at showcasing exciting, new visual arts work in our building on Swanage seafront. Exhibited work will complement our programmes of other events, generally cinema and live performance.

Initially, the Visual Arts will be fairly small scale, shown on wall spaces on the first floor adjacent to Bar and Theatre entrances, but there is a longer-term aim to expand this to other areas within and possibly outside the building.

The Mowlem wishes to provide the opportunity for those Artists with a genuine connection to the region to engage with the community through showing work that stimulates and challenges its audience.

All practising Artists are encouraged to apply. It is anticipated that the first shows will be 2D but 3D and craft-based works are not ruled out.
We particularly welcome applications from young Dorset Artists beginning their journey in their creative field. Work must be original and completed within the past two years. It is anticipated that most shows will be by solo Artists but small group shows are not ruled out.

To apply please submit the following;

  1. A 100-word biography
  2. A 100-word statement on your work and why you think it is suitable
  3. A link to a website / Instagram or other platforms
  4. A PDF of 6 images that represents the work you wish to show

Your application will be considered by a small panel of practising Artists.

Although the panel’s decision is final, some feedback will be given to all applicants. The panel have the right to reject any work that they feel might cause distress or offence.

Please submit your proposal to, clearly headed with the subject Visual Arts Exhibition Proposal.

Exhibition Space and Hanging

The available space consists of 3 discrete areas on the first floor. These 3 areas make up approximately 10 square metres of wall space divided into three distinct spaces (see plan below). The work will be fixed to painted MDF boards attached to the walls.

Exhibitions will be around 6 weeks long and there will be approximately 8 in the first year (September 2022 – September 2023).

It is expected that exhibiting Artists will host a small exhibition ‘opening’ event in The Mowlem Bar on the opening Friday of their exhibition.

Marketing / Publicity

The Mowlem will advertise the exhibition programme through their website and social media platforms, but it is expected that exhibiting Artists will contribute to this through their own means.

Costs / Sales / Insurance

The Artist will cover all framing and associated costs in getting the work ready for exhibition. The Mowlem Visual Arts team will prepare the boards ready for hanging and assist with the hanging. Any labels / signage will be carried out by the Mowlem through discussion with the Artist.

Use of the space is free. Artists will be free to sell their work and publicise links to any other sales outlets, but selling work is not the main aim of this venture.

Artists are responsible for ensuring that there are no copyright issues or other legal issues attached to works displayed or reproduced.

While every endeavour will be made to keep the works secure, any insurance of the Art works will remain the responsibility of the Artist.