Set to be inaugurated by the Mayor of Bournemouth on Saturday 28th April during this year’s BEAF Festival (Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe), the BCAC (not to be confused with the British Carp Angling Championship) is the UK’s smallest contemporary arts centre. It also happens to live within one of the country’s only purpose-built tardis-style police boxes.
Artist Stuart Semple says: “BCAC at BEAF is more than just a string of acronyms, this is a chance for a whole community to get up close and personal with contemporary art in an iconic and intimate space.”
As part of the initiative, Semple has been commissioned to create a new piece of public sculpture. His piece ‘You Are Love’ is designed to be a simple statement of togetherness and unity on an otherwise grey high street. This illuminated sculptural work will adorn the top of the police box. The work aims to celebrate the commonality in the diverse population of Boscombe and contribute a simple symbol of connection to the town.
“The idea I had for the ‘You Are Love’ sculpture was to play with the concept that we all have more in common than we have different, and no matter who you are or what you’ve been through you are loved. What public space needs is more love. We are all made of the same stuff. I was hoping to add a positive and empowering statement to the high street.” SS
Stuart’s first project inside BCAC, ‘It’s OK to ask me if I’m not OK’, aims to start a dialogue in public space about emotions, to reduce stigmas around mental health issues.
‘It’s OK to ask me if I am not OK’ is a participatory public art work. The piece encourages the public to paint on special ‘magic’ paper (developed by Semple) that will line the inside of the box. The public are invited to answer a simple question: “What are you not ok about?” As they watch their writing disappear before their eyes it is hoped that the work will investigate conversations about how people feel.
“Although Boscombe Central is the most deprived area in the whole of the South West of England, it has one of the most vibrant and diverse cultures.
It’s the perfect place for a contemporary art centre. It’s incredibly forward-thinking of Dorset Police to see the power of art to transcend barriers and hand over their iconic box for a programme like this.” SS
The wider concept for the space is to present a free, challenging, engaging and empowering programme of internationally recognised contemporary art in the heart of Boscombe. The full programme for the space is yet to be announced, but Stuart will curate a series of free contemporary art exhibitions, performances, lectures and happenings by leading international artists within the space over the coming months.
For details on upcoming exhibitions, talks, installations and projects at BCAC please visit]