Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University

Sculpture 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.

The official web site for the Park can be found at

These pieces were installed during 1989:

Vega Bermejo: Wooden benches
Ian Cooper: 'Vulcan'
Wendy Marshall: 'Poggy Bench'
Peter Mountain: Welcome sign
Rod Powell: 'The Green Man'

And these pieces at later dates:

Claire Appleby: 'Horse'
David Haygarth: 'Multiple Negative'
David Haygarth: 'Timber Lens'
Jirí Beránek: 'Útocisté' (Shelter), Graves Park

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Last updated September 5, 2006