Creative lifelines: Nine minutes with Susie Allen and Laura Culpan

Creativity provides a unique form of visual expression for artists and audiences, which in turn can positively impact wellbeing. Cureis a new art project devised by Artwise in partnership with Bonhams and the David Ross Foundation, as part of raising awareness and funds for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT). The charity is characterised by an innovative approach to research and it was this innovation that inspired the specially commissioned series of works.

Last year, 53 artists were invited to create an artwork using a bespoke Perspex 20cm3 box. The cubes will be shown at Bonhams from 13th – 15th March 2017 with the sale of the artwork going live on Monday 13th March. The sales will go towards funding the vital work helping to slow, stop or reverse the degenerative disease. After Nyne’s Jessica Rayner spent nine minutes with project curators Susie Allen and Laura Culpan.

JR: What is the main ethos behind Cure3 and the motivations for setting up the project?

LP: With this project we, Artwise, saw the potential to be creative with a new concept, one that would provide freedom to the invited artists and, at the same time, by virtue of implementing a consistent format, create a unified and unique exhibition.

Over 20 years ago, Susie Allen, Founding Director of Artwise, originated the concept of the RCA Secret Postcard project for the Royal College of Art. It is now widely recognised as one of the art world’s most successful fundraising strategies, having raised millions for the university. We took this formula forward, and, instead of the postcard, we are giving our artists a cube that represents a space within which to work — a platform, a framework.


JR: Can you talk through the work for exhibition, what fuelled idea to use Perspex boxes?

SA: The cube provides a framed space for the artist, but it is also inspired by the charity, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, whose quest it is to think ‘outside the box’ in order to push the boundaries of medical research to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Tom Isaacs, a Parkinson’s sufferer himself, talks about the condition as a ‘sentence without parole’ and the feeling of being ‘boxed in.’ The cube itself therefore symbolises feeling boxed in and being able to break free: to go beyond the confines of those walls, be creative, and think differently.


JR: What are the standout pieces within the exhibition?

LP: There are so many – that is wonderful result of commissioning over 50 artists: each piece is unique responses to the cube. For some, the walls of the cube have become the sculpture itself: covered, melted, printed, or painted upon. For others, it became a space to contain and showcase a special object or installation.

We are truly privileged that Peter Doig has donated what will be his first sculptural work that will be for sale.

Along side the established names of artists such as Peter Doig, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Sir Peter Blake and Grayson Perry, we have also introduced younger artists who we believe are making headway in the art world, and whose works already reside in important collections and museum exhibitions. We also cast our net wider than the UK, and have participating artists from India, USA, France, Germany, Italy, and Iceland.

With the age ranges of the artists from early 30s to early 80s and price ranges from £650 to £40,000 – we believe there will be something for everyone who wants to buy (as long as they are quick as we are anticipating a surge in sales at 8am on Monday 13th March when the sales platform on the website goes live!)

JR: Creativity is often linked to wellbeing, why do you think projects like this are so beneficial?

SA: Artists have a way to communicate issues and allow people to discuss and see things differently. All the artists have been incredibly generous in donating the works they have for Cure3 and we have been delighted to be working very closely with the charity – The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and know that monies raised will be going to an very important cause. Over 10 million people worldwide are affected by Parkinson’s Disease and there is currently no cure. This has to change and it is an incredible privilege to create a project that generates awareness and funds that has the possibility of making a difference to slow, stop and ultimately reverse PD.


JR: Do you have any future projects planned?

SA: Yes! We have another exhibition of works by artist Adrian Berg RA opening on the 25th March at the beautiful Tudor mansion Hall Place and Gardens, in Bexley. And we are also starting to plan the 2018 edition of Cure3, so watch this space!


The sale of artwork will go live at 8am on Monday 13th March via the website

For more information visit

Image 1: Sarah Lucas
Perspex cube, tights, kapok, MDF
20 x 20 x 20 cm

Image 2: Damien Hirst
Incinerate me, 2016
Perspex cube and medical waste
20 x 20 x 20 cm

Image 3: Grayson Perry
Gold Alan Venus, 2016 – 2017
Perspex cube and ceramic
20 x 20 x 20 cm

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