Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

PUBLIC ART IN SHEFFIELD

Extracts from Internal Council Documents relating to Tudor Square

ART WORKS FOR TUDOR SQUARE

As Tudor Square is an Arts Square, and will be used for performances, events and exhibitions it is important that art is used in the fabric of the square to help create an art context.

To achieve this sculptor Paul Mason has been working with the Urban Design Section to create and identify areas where art or craft work can be used. The final result being a visually unique square which helps promote a Sheffield identity.

Paul Mason started his work by producing ideas for a carved stone relief for the central feature. His ideas for imagery came from early examples of marks which were the precursors of writing. These images taken from around the world record the start of written and visual cultures. The start of Art.

These simple marks have been used to create hand forged metal work for railings round the car park ramp and mosaics leading up to the front of the Lyceum. The mosaics will each be bounded by stainless steel, and laid out into the pale coloured paving.

Throughout the square the presence of the artist and craftworker will be evident. Sheffield has a Percent For Art policy, and this is an excellent example of how the policy works. Public Art is not just sculpture. Artist's creative thinking has a role to play in the design of our urban spaces, giving them human touch and vitality.

PROGRAMMING THE SQUARE

The realised square creates a new urban space in Sheffield. Gathered around it are theatres, libraries, art galleries (Graves, Ruskin and Ruskin Craft). The square has open forecourt areas in front of the theatres. Events will be generated from the programmes of the theatres themselves - but the other cultural programmes of Libraries and Arts will find open air elements eg the Libraries' Opening The Book festival might develop pavement poems and outdoor readings. In 1991 the Ruskin Gallery is planning a processional festivity around an exhibition about St George and his representation, along with the Dragon, in art.

The principal focus for public art besides the built-in elements by Paul Mason is the creation of a space for the exhibition of sculpture on the top half of the square where trees surround a grassed area with Paul Mason's discreet retaining wall carving, providing a setting for sculpture. A programme of showing large sculptures or groups of pieces is being established for this space. The showing of a piece (or pieces) would extend over 6 months (a winter and a summer installation). The costs are essentially those of installation, transport, maintenance, fees to technicians and artists.

Resourcing this programme is currently under discussion. The City Arts Department would be interested in pursuing the idea of creating an endowment fund for these long-term sculpture exhibitions linked to the Graves Art Gallery. There could be further links with the Graves Park Sculpture Trail which began to take shape last year with the Arts Department commissioning pieces for the Park and with further projects afoot for the Round Walk. The provision of an endowment of the Square's sculpture programme by the Graves Trust is an avenue of funding for changing public sculpture in the square which could be explored should the trust wish to follow up the idea.

A start-up figure for programming the square with changing displays of sculpture would be 10,000 pa.

David Alston
Deputy Director of Arts
[This document probably written in 1990]

TUDOR SQUARE INAUGURATION

Tudor Square is an Arts Square, and will be used for performances, events and exhibitions. Around this square are grouped the major cultural facilities in the City Centre - The Crucible Theatre, the refurbished Lyceum, the Central Library, Library Theatre and Graves Art Gallery, and leading into the square, the award winning Ruskin Gallery and Ruskin Craft Gallery. The city has created a new pedestrianised space in the tightly packed intersections of street routes - a breathing space for the city's inhabitants and visitors. A space to be periodically animated, by events, performances and the like contributing to the city's cultural life. As an arts square in a city seeking to promote Public Art and the involvement of artists as co-partners with architects and planners it was important to use art in the very fabric of the square.

To achieve this, sculptor Paul Mason has been working with the Urban Design Section to create and identify areas where art or craft work can be used. The final result is a visually unique square which helps promote a Sheffield identity and a square that marks the city's hosting of the Universiade in 1991, as the city plays host to visiting nations.

Paul Mason started his work by producing ideas for a carved stone relief for the central feature. His ideas for imagery came from early examples of marks which were the precursors of writing. These images taken from around the world record the start of written and visual cultures. The start of Art and communication between people.

These simple marks have been used to create hand forged metal work for tree grilles, railing round the car park ramp and mosaics leading up to the front of the Lyceum. The mosaics are bounded by stainless steel, and laid out into the pale coloured paving.

Public Art is not just sculpture. An artist's creative thinking has a role to play in the design of our urban spaces, giving them human touch and vitality.

The square is part of the city's public art programme and has been enhanced by funding from J G Graves Charitable Trust.

David Alston
Deputy Director of Arts
[This document probably written in 1991]




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Last updated 24 August, 2005