Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield
Hallam University PUBLIC ART IN SHEFFIELD
Trail, Graves Park
The development of a sculpture trail
at Graves Park was part of a city wide festival advertised as '90 Days in
89: A Season of New Art in Sheffield'. From June through August 1989, the
Graves and Mappin Art Galleries, other city venues and some studios were open
to the public for display of art and art in progress. An outdoor venue was
included, Graves Park at Norton.
An initiative of SCAT (Sheffield Contemporary Arts Trust), the 'Art in the
Parks' programme fitted in nicely with other city enterprises, the first siting
of the Sheffield Show at Norton at the end of the summer, and an interest
in activating the round Sheffield walk by placing sculpture along it.
The sculpture was also claimed as part of a project to develop the Park, the
Rare Breeds Centre and Norton Nursery as a theme park under the name Chantryland.
Twelve artists took part in 'Art in the Park' at Graves Park. Four were given
commissions for permanent work. One was commissioned a little later. The placements
should be mentioned despite their ephemeral nature; many were excitingly experimental
A recent visit to the Park, in February 2001, found that all but one of the
original pieces has now been removed or has disintegrated beyond recognition.
None of the benches are usable. The Welcome Sign has been removed. The Green
Man has been cut down because the base of the tree stump had rotted to a stage
where it could fall onto the adjacent path. The only piece still standing
is Ian Cooper's 'Vulcan'; its base is beginning to show deterioration although
the carving on the upper portion of the trunk is still in good condition.
While it was sad to see the Sculpture Trail in such a state, it was also interesting
to view the final stages of a project which we had observed from its inception.
Of the subsequent pieces: 'Horse' has been moved and has suffered some damage
to its tail; 'Timber Lens' has disintegrated, or was destroyed, within two
years of its construction; and 'Shelter' has been cut done and 'made safe'
by the Parks Department.