Launch Pad was established in 2014 by contemporary art patron Sarah Elson as a platform for emerging artists who have had limited exposure in the UK. Up to three artists per year are invited to create a new work that responds to the domestic space, history, or environment of the founder’s home. Artists reside with the founder during the research and exhibition periods. Each commission is accompanied by a program tailored to the nature of the artwork, and draws on the founder’s network to introduce the artist and the work to a wider audience.
Since its founding, Launch Pad has evolved to encompass a widening circle of participants. In 2015, Launch Pad presented the first of its international commissions at a private residence in New York City. And in 2017, Launch Pad partnered with collectors in Shanghai to present a new domestic commission in China. Wherever the Launch Pad model is adopted, the commissioned artists benefit from the network and programming developed in collaboration with the hosts. Through its dynamic and collaborative enterprise, Launch Pad expands its growing network of artists, collectors, art lovers, museums and non-profit arts organisations.
In 2018 Launch Pad partnered with art patron and philanthropist Veronique Parke, to introduce Launch Pad LaB, a residential working retreat. Located in rural SW France, Launch Pad LaB provides accommodation and studio space on the grounds of a family home rich with history dating back many centuries. Two annual sessions of 6-8 weeks provide invited artists the opportunity to develop and nurture new ideas while working away from the demands of their usual routines. Moderated conversations, curator-led discussions and open studio visits to the grounds of LaB offer artists and visitors the chance to engage meaningfully with the development of new work.