by 52 Weeks of Art

Lichfield is to see the unveiling of its first new piece of public art in over 50 years on Saturday 18th September.

The 3m long bronze artwork entitled ‘The Formation of Poetry’ by Lichfield born Sculptor Peter Walker a.r.b.s. is a tribute to the life and work of Samuel Johnson. It will be publicly unveiled at a ceremony attended by civic guests and members of the public at 1.30pm on Johnson's 301st birthday.

It has been created from designs developed by students at The Friary School, who worked with artists through a design project in 2008, to develop their own ideas as to the type of art they would like to see on the Cities streets. The sculpture has been inspired by the way in which Samuel Johnson used poetry within the dictionary, as a means of establishing the true nature of the English Language.

The sculpture was recently made at Chasewater Innovation Centre, as the sculptor Peter Walker, is from the area, and wanted where possible to maintain local links throughout the project. An invited group including councillors and school students were treated to a preview of the work in late April, and the design of the sculpture were greeted with excitement and enthusiasm. Peter’s sculpture is widely collected both nationally and internationally, and he has created a number of significant public works around the UK.

The sculpture which has been funded by Tesco forms the central part of a major investment in local arts, in an ongoing project, which will also see local people offered the opportunity to take part in all sorts art workshops. So far this summer over 1000 people have been involved in the project, through over 50 art workshops, and further aspects of the project will see further opportunities. The art workshops relate to the cities four most famous historic figures, Samuel Johnson, Erasmus Darwin, Anna Seward and David Garrick and have been taking place between May and end in November. In total there will be 104 workshops, which represents a major opportunity for local people to work with artists to learn skills, and participate in the development of art. Some of the artwork produced will then feature in exhibitions or events linked to the project, which will be free to see or attend.

“Tesco’s investment in the Arts through this project see’s a clear commitment to supporting the creative industries in the city. The arts are a major part of the national way of life, and through this project we hope to be able not only to leave a lasting legacy through the sculptural artwork produced, but also ignite, introduce and involve people in the arts in their community”. Peter Walker Sculptor and Project Coordinator

Some of the workshops will be in local schools or with local groups, but some are open to public application, and are free to take part in. Places will be book able and details for these will be provided in the near future. Anyone interested in receiving details of these should visit Workshops will include poetry, sound art, digital animation, printmaking and playwriting amongst others.