Event Report: "Love Ties" Launch.
Following a £1-million boost to
accessible public art in Stoke-on-Trent, three ambitious sculpture
projects are nearing completion across the city.
The first to launch is "Love Ties" in the Hanley Park,
just around the corner from the University
and the train station, aimed at making the park a more friendly and
welcoming place than previously.
Artist Emily Campbell at the launch of her 'Love Ties'.
Artist Emily Campbell (Letting in the Light) has created art that gets under the skin of a place,
by appealing to the emotions through a "slow art" - an art that slowly cultivates
the heart through seeing it again and again as a part of
one's everyday life. And it does so quietly, without using the
sculptural equivalent of "shouting" at the viewer.
As Hanley Park comes to life again through elected-Mayor
Mike Wolfe's Greening for Growth strategy, this art shows us
an aspect of physical regeneration that works with words &
feelings to both evoke, re-work and lay-down personal memory.
This is vital for generating a sense of 'ownership' on the part
of park users. There are three main works as part
of Emily Campbell's work in the park.
Hanley Park lake & main island - with a new line of brushed-steel
lettering around the edge. "...as if on a different horizon..."
The first and most noticable is the robust & chunky lettering ("Do You Feel
It Too?") that
forms a small seating/play area. The second is a line of
brushed steel lettering that lines the central island in the park's lake.
All the words are words of & about love.
The third will be lettering set into the stone risers of the
steps to the upper level of the park. The latter will
be installed very shortly, and will read "Do you know what it is, this
sublime feeling, do you feel it too?". The island work can be seen
as being in the long
neo-Romantic tradition of using the English landscape to
convey emotional states through art.
The main seating/play sculpture on the bank that runs down to the lake.
Seven other arts projects are happening in the park,
alongside and in combination with 'Love Ties':
Jayne Murray has been setting
up a flower-stall and asking visitors to select flowers
that signify love to them, and to who them might send them.
Jayne is working with a flower arranger to design bouqets
that will be left at strategic points.
Anne Kinniard, Marion Adams and Christine Watkins are working with local people in relation to the
project, and Darryl O'Hara is making a film of the project.
Nick Lee at Keele University is writing an evaluation.
In total, 'Love Ties' is about regeneration through engaging
people and their 'social capital', something that
has to happen in a genuine way if Stoke-on-Trent is
to have a real chance of sustainable regeneration.
'Another Gift' at Stoke, by Liz Lemon. Spring 06.
'Love Ties' takes place alongside two other major works
of public sculpture in an SRB4 project totalling over £400,000.
One of the other major sculptures include Liz Lemon's
'Another Gift' (seen right), sited on the 'Stoke Approach'
opposite Stoke's oldest church and the Council offices. The
completed work should look like the computer-rendered visualisation seen on the right.
The other is sited in Etruria, alongside the
road from Newcastle-under-Lyme to the city centre, and was made by
artist Denis O'Connor. The work was not contracted-out, and
Denis actually made the works himself.
Denis's 'Privilege' work (seen below) is designed to encapsulate Stoke's industrial past
of ceramics, steel and coal. It is complemented by extremely high-quality
seating and landscaping.
'Privilege' sculpture at Etruria, by Denis O'Connor.
Project partners were:
Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Advantage West Midlands.
Keele University (Nick Lee, project evaluation).