Ruth Charity has worked for over 25 years curating and commissioning contemporary art, for the past 15 years focusing on work for public spaces, particularly in the field of arts and health.
Her background is in visual arts curation – working for the British Council’s Visual Arts Department (1989-92) touring exhibitions overseas, as a curator at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (1992-97), Curator of the Mead Gallery at Warwick Arts Centre (1997), and Assistant Director of Artpoint, the public art commissioning agency for the South of England (1997- 2005).
Ruth has always been interested in commissioning new work by artists in response to particular contexts, in supporting artists in taking their work in new directions, and involving and engaging the public in the development of new work.
In 2007 she founded artlink, the arts programme for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Past projects include a 5 storey wall painting by Michael Craig-Martin for the Children’s Hospital atrium; a £250k integrated art programme for a new Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital; a extensive photographic project by Jan von Holleben to provide distraction on routes from children’s wards to theatres; and a Wellcome funded collaboration by artist Susan Morris and a chronobiologist to create a series of large tapestries reflecting sleep/wakefulness patterns.
Additional freelance work has included the curation of a programme of work by photographer Gina Glover for the Oxford Fertility Centre; a series of commissions for new library and student facilities at Oxford Brookes University; and work on a Public Art Strategy for the Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham (for Willis Newson).
Ruth has written on contemporary art in catalogues and journals. In 2005 she edited the publication ReViews: Artists and Public Space (Black Dog Publishing), an extensive review of Artpoint’s projects, focussing on the artist’s experience within public art practice.