Guest blog: George Ward Gardens Public Art Commission – update from Planet Arts

Planet Art have been continuing with the Commission at George Ward Gardens as best we can during these unprecedented times. A quick update. As part of the consultation in early January, Planet Art presented a week long exhibition in Melksham Town Hall show-casing our designs alongside work completed by schools:- River Mead, Shaw C.E., Forest and Sandridge and Oak. A comments box was left so folks could have their say regarding the proposals for George Ward Gardens. We also had an open evening, all the residents were invited via a personal flyer and it was advertised well in the local press and via Facebook. All comments and feedback were very positive.

Design ‘Rings of Harmony’
Photo Planet Art

The agreed designs are inspired by the George Ward school logo. ‘Rings of Harmony’ sculpture. 3.5m x 3.5m made from mild steel, with stainless steel inlay.

Photo courtesy of Planet Art

Trail of smaller brick sculptures across the George Ward site, inspired by school life. Bricks kindly donated by Ibstock at Cattybrook. Pieces will include a satchel, pencil, and book sculptures. Ibstock also kindly gave the bricks which formed part of the consultation and were carved by numerous groups across Melksham including residents at George Ward Gardens. These bricks will form part of the landscaping.

‘River Seating’
Location near the children’s playground area.
Photo / Designs: Planet Art

Due to the COVD 19 outbreak we have had limited access to both the materials we need and various fabricators? We have luckily been able to continue with the trail of bricks sculptures. However production was closed at Ibstock due to Government guidelines, so although we have nearly completed three of the trail pieces we still have another two to complete and all need to be fired back at Ibstock.

We are waiting for the steels to be rolled at the factory for the ring sculpture. Hardwood has been purchased for the seating. We are continuing as best we can. Hopefully in the next couple of months things will return to some sort of normal and we will resume with the making.

Work in progress: Ron working on the brick sculptures
Photo courtesy of Planet Art

We are still hopeful at this point that we can complete and install the works in the autumn of 2020. However this will be reviewed as the lockdown continues. We would like to thank the steering group for their continued support in these difficult times. Especially Meril Morgan who is retiring from her role as Arts Lead at Wiltshire Council. I know she will be missed by her colleagues and the artists she has supported over the years.

We have a dedicated Facebook page’ George Ward Gardens’ where we post updates so people can keep informed on the progress of the project. We are also keeping in contact with the two artists we have been mentoring Joanna Mountain-Lawrence and Jack Raisey. The mentoring scheme is something we have found to be extremely rewarding, which will hopefully in turn help to develop their role in public art in the future.

Julie Edwards and Ron Thompson, Planet Art

Editor’s note 1:

The public art programme results from the S106 public art contribution from the old George Ward School site in Melksham. The work has been commissioned by Persimmon Homes and being developed in partnership with the community.

These links to previous blogs tell the story so far:

Final artworks are expected to be installed in autumn 2020

 

Editor’s note 2:

If you have a Wiltshire connected project, case study or story to share in the guest blogs, please email mailto:arts@wiltshire.gov.uk

 

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