PUBLIC ART DEVELOPMENT IN SHEFFIELD - THE NEXT STEPS
In May, 1988, the City Council formally adopted the policy of public art
in the City.
To support this policy the Arts Department sought to establish the post
of Public Art Development Officer.
In response to this objective, three Departments joined with the Arts
Department to commit funding to the establishment of this post. These
Departments were: Design and Building Services, Land and Planning and
With the core funding for this post established, the Arts Department was
then able to secure funding from both the Arts Council of Great Britain
and the Yorkshire Arts Association. A total budget of £27,500 was thus
secured for the first year of operation (SCC: £10,000; ACGB: £10,000;
YAA: £7,500). The pilot post was to run for three years, with a review
at 18 months, with the commitment of the funding partners.
As the post was an experiment - the first of its kind in the United Kingdom
- it was agreed that the formal employer should be the regional public
art development agency ĎPublic Artsí, rather than the City Council.
Following public advertisement, Public Arts appointed Paul Swales as Public
Art Development Officer for Sheffield; Paul was seconded to work for the
City within the Department of Land and Planning. He commenced work in
2. ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
In the seventeen months that Paul has worked within the City much has
been achieved. In addition the experience has been of immense value in
putting a policy for Public Art into practice within a large northern
city. Much has been learned from this experience.
The following are the key achievements of this period.
- A statement relating to Public Art is now included in substantial
planning briefs, area plans, and the Unitary Development Plan.
- The following projects have been developed within the City Council:
- - Lower Don Stadium: main gate by Hilary Cartmel and students
of Wisewood Middlewood School;
- - Lower Don Stadium: main entrance road by Joanna Veevers;
- - Lyceum Theatre: four storey stained glass window by Catrin Jones;
- - New Town Hall: glass frieze to new enquiry centre by Amber Hiscott;
- - Tudor Square: paving scheme by Paul Mason;
- - Kelvin Flats: stair tower painting (involving the local community);
- - Park Hill: environmental improvements;
- - Tinsley Subway: mural (involving the local community);
- - Supertram: preliminary work;
- - Earl Street: footbridge.
- The following developments undertaken by the private sector will include
a Public Art element:
- - Cambridge Street;
- - Moorfoot;
- - Esso/Granada at Parkway;
- - Crystal Peaks;
- - Union Street.
- Close liaison has been established with the Sheffield Development
Corporation, who are now developing a number of proposals of their own
relating to Public Art.
- Sheffield has been identified as a front runner in the implementation
of a Public Art policy within the local authority context. In addition
to receiving numerous invitations to conferences and seminars, Paul
Swales assisted the following authorities with advice: Plymouth, Bristol,
Salford, Leeds, Brighton, Newport, Manchester, Kirklees, Edinburgh,
Cardiff, Sunderland and three London Boroughs.
As the attached extract from ĎThe Public Art Reportí (1989) demonstrates,
Sheffield now occupies a leading position in the field of Public Art.
3. THE NEXT STEPS
In January, 1990, Paul Swales accepted an offer to work in the private sector;
he will be leaving Sheffield in the middle of April, 1990.
Now therefore is the moment not only to consolidate Paulís achievements
to date, but also to move Public Art into its next phase of development
There can be no doubt that the post of Public Art Development Officer within
the City has been successful, that the co-funding mechanism has been satisfactory,
and that the location of this post with Land and Planning has worked well.
It is therefore proposed that a permanent appointment be made to a post
to be designated Public Art Officer, employed directly by the City Council
in place of the external agency Public Arts.
It is anticipated that a permanent appointment will create greater continuity,
whereas another short-term appointment would be prey to external offers.
The Arts Council and Yorkshire Arts Association are supportive of this proposal,
and have indicated that they will contribute seed funding in order to secure
the post within the City Council. This funding would taper over an agreed
period of years.
It is suggested that within the City Council, the Departments funding the
post to date, agree to do so on a permanent basis with an annual increase
to cover wage inflation. These Departments would be Arts, Design and Building
Services, Land and Planning and Works.
By common consent the post is best sited as a team member of the UDC Section
of the Department of Land and Planning. The attached draft job description
is an outline to be refined in consultation with the Department of Land
and Planning, who now have the best working understanding of this post.
One of the principal lessons from the past months has been the need for
a small pool of money with which to fund competitions and models. These
are the most effective way of capturing the attention of those most likely
to develop Public Art projects in both the private and public sectors.
It is therefore proposed that negotiations take place with the Department
of Land and Planning, which already has a small budget for conservation
work, and that a similar budget within the range of £25,000 to £50,000 per
annum be established to stimulate Public Art commissions within the City.
This proposal is put forward in the most recent % for Art paper, which sets
out the mechanism for the operation of Percent for Art and is currently
being submitted for approval by all the Councilís major committees.
The following recommendations are proposed:
- that the post of Public Art Officer be established by the City Council;
- that this post be equally funded by the following Departments: Arts,
Design and Building Services, Land and Planning, and Works;
- that the attached job description forms the basis of that for this
- that the post be located within the Department of Land and Planning;
- that discussions take place with the Arts Council and the Yorkshire
Arts Association to fund this post;
- that discussions take place with the Department of Land and Planning
to establish a revenue budget to facilitate Public Art development.
Director of Arts
9th April, 1990
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