Acme Studios — #36 Adrian Carruthers Award

Supporting Artists since 1972

#36 The Adrian Carruthers Studio Award

50 stories from The Acme Archive

The legacy left behind by artist Adrian Carruthers has become one of championing early career artists, extending support to artists when they need it most, after art school facing precarity and lack of guidance – the Adrian Carruthers Award provides a grounding springboard into professional practice.

Adrian Carruthers (1961 – 2001) was a British painter and sculptor born in Oxford, who worked across London, New York and Oxfordshire. Adrian was born with a heart valve defect which meant that he grew up anticipating multiple surgeries, this may have created an awareness of the fleeting nature of time and perhaps explains the great focus and intensity of his work.

Despite academic struggles at school, Adrian excelled in art and would go on to gain multiple art qualifications. He studied graphic design at Swindon Technical College followed by an undergraduate degree in Fine Art at Portsmouth Polytechnic, and then onto a postgraduate course at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Becoming a professional artist, Adrian worked at Acme’s Childers Street Studio in Deptford, London.

Tragically Adrian passed away at the age of forty, leaving a large body of rich and fascinating art works for future generations. Alongside this, in his memory his friends and family set up the Adrian Carruthers Memorial Fund, that together with Acme’s Early Career Programme partnered with the Slade School of Fine Art, set up the Adrian Carruthers Award in 2002. The award was intended to support MFA graduates from Slade School, to provide a bridge between college and professional practice. With an awareness of the challenges faced by early career artists working in London, the goal of the annual award was to provide economic support, and practical guidance that many students lose once out of art school.

The award which has now supported 26 artists, includes a bursary, rent-free studio space and mentoring programme tailored specifically to the graduate’s practice, and the opportunity to present work at a partner gallery.

The current award holder is Hannah Morgan (2022/23), and previous recipients include Holly Buckle (2021/22), Francisca Sosa López (2020/21), Amy Steel (2019/20), Greta Davies (2018/19), Dominic Dispirito (2017/18), Josh Berry (2016/17), Rutie Borthwick (2015/16), Milou van der Maaden (2014/15) and Marianna Simnett (2013/14).