Aberdeen’s Kekun art studio and Polka design studio have teamed up to create K:ART. They have designed this innovative mobile exhibition system to help artists easily display their work outdoors. They’ve developed a versatile design, aiming to support as many artists and art styles as possible.

The K:ARTs will be able to pop up in various public spaces around the city, either on their own or in groups. The units will become outdoor art spaces, enabling artists to create and transport installations, display works of art and sell their products. Quickly erecting art hubs for the public to visit and interact with.

The idea has been driven through funding that Elev8arts were awarded Creative Funding by Aberdeen City Council.


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Breaking the reliance on indoor spaces

The team first set out to think of inventive ways to get around the challenges that the pandemic had caused artists during the pandemic. Particularly looking at their reliance on traditional shows in indoor spaces.

Online shows helped to some extent. But not enough was being done to make use of outdoor spaces. These provide a much-needed aspect of social interaction that’s just not available in digital environments. At the same time, hospitality venues had quickly pivoted to outdoor spaces…even here in Aberdeen.

Circumstances are constantly changing as restrictions come to an end. But regardless of what happens in the future, the opportunities for such a model of engagement and display are endless.

Artists Mary Butterworth, Jon Reid and Jenny Hood are the team at Kekun Studio. They are excited about K:ARTs’ potential to provide artists with freedom of expression and alternative methods of interaction with their communities.

K:ART model on display at The Anatomy Rooms

They explained: “We’d love to see K:ART being used in different ways with artists creating unique mini-exhibitions across the city. At this stage, we’re trying to keep the feedback process open and inclusive so that we can make the design as adaptable to as many different artists’ needs and practices as possible. We’re excited to see the final prototype and where it might lead the project in the future.”

Keeping K:ART simple makes it versatile

Callum Barrack from Polka design studio worked on the physical creation of K:ART. His recent work includes the design work at the Greyhope Bay Centre. He, along with the team at Kekun, recognised that the design of K:ART was hinged around keeping it light and versatile. This principle will allow artists the freedom to adapt to their imagination and needs.

Having gone through various design revisions. Design factors included display, versatility, and practicality, as well as materials, size, weight, storage, and manoeuvrability. Modifications to the base unit can lead to other variations. Larger two-person units, mini-units, or units with specific tailored purposes. And so it’s adaptable as possible to give artists the freedom to explore their use of K:ART.

We’re excited to see what artists can make of K:ART, and can’t wait to see them on the streets of the city. The potential to quickly and easily turn a park or a street corner into a pop-up art gallery is a fantastic prospect for Aberdeen.

The teams at Kekun and Polka are currently looking for input from artists in the city. If you think you might benefit from using a K:ART, please check out their project summary and fill in the short survey.

Feedback for the project is open until 21st April 2022.


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Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers. These are the people that make a positive impact on our city every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community and ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes coverage of Spectra 2022, interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil Fachie; Aberdeen rapper Chef and his push for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.

A great way to catch up with our work is by reading our 2021 Year in Review.