Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Wonders of Weston?

It's difficult to know where and how to start, which may explain why it's taken so long for any of us to post anything here.

I suppose I ought to begin by saying that I'm only here because I responded to an invitation to find out more about the Wonders of Weston, and that what I write here is my opinion and nobody else's. If you want to know what the others involved in this group are doing here, you'll have to ask them.

And just what are the Wonders of Weston?

They're a series of six public artworks by well-known artists: Ruth Claxton, Tim Etchells, Lara Favaretto, Tania Kovats & Grant Associates, raumlaborberlin and Wrights & Sites. They're all well respected and highly thought of, but I can't help thinking that it's a pity that there wasn't a place for at least one local artist on that list.

Although we don't have too many details of some of the artworks at the moment, we do know a lot about what Wrights and Sites have got planned, and I think ought to say straight away that I think that theirs is a fascinating project that reflects many aspects of Weston's history; I shall be following their work particularly closely and you can expect to hear a lot more about it from me, both here and elsewhere.

The funding and management of the project is rather complicated. It is funded by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment as part of Sea Change, a programme which, according to CABE, is intended " drive cultural and creative regeneration and economic growth in seaside resorts by funding inspiring, creative and innovative projects..." At a local level, North Somerset Council is responsible for Sea Change, but the Wonders of Weston itself is being managed by Situations and Field Art Projects, two bodies with considerable experience of this sort of work.

The project also has a website and a Facebook page where you can find out more about it. You can also submit your nomination for the Seventh Wonder of Weston, although I'm not actually quite sure what will be happening to the winner of that category.
The Wonders of Weston will be launched on Friday 29 October, although, like many other aspects of the project, we don't actually know too much about that yet.

One aspect of the project that has been worrying me is the lack of advance publicity. In a very unscientific survey, I've asked a number of local people about it, but only a few had heard of it, and none of them knew any of the details.

Weston-super-Mare is a town that doesn't have a great deal of public art, and what little there is has sometimes been controversial, so it will be interesting to follow your reactions to the project over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, please tell us what you do know, and what you think of the Wonders of Weston. After all, this is a public art project, paid for with public money and it's here in our town.

1 comment:

  1. The most informative piece of writing on Wonders of Weston yet!

    I must agree with your comment "one aspect of the project that has been worrying me is the lack of advance publicity."

    What role has the public acutally had in the process? How much information has it received?

    We do know that Wrights and Sites has interviewed many people all over town (they told us) and that residents have been getting involved in projects, see for example:

    The Weston Wonderers of this blog and evalution process also know that the launch date for the project is 29th October 2010 (this was to be September but has been put back) but what is worrying is that this date hasn't been publicised anywhere, even on Wonders of Weston's own website! Press coverage has been limited to the story (in the link) above in Weston People and something similar in The Weston Mercury.

    If public money is to be spent, it seems to me that the public should be better informed of the processes and, at the very least, of the project launch date.

    That said, I look forward to the unveiling of these 6 works.