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.


by 52 Weeks of Art

Peter Walker worked with around 50 students from Netherstowe High School in order to help them to learn more about the processes and stages of developing public art and in order that they might make their own large sculptures. During a 3-day project around 10 large-scale cardboard sculptures were produced. The students learnt about how to make small models and then how to make these into big sculptural works. They were designing these works to help inspire a sculpture to be displayed at their school later this year which Peter is currently working on in his studio.


by 52 Weeks of Art

Students at the Friary School were recently offered the opportunity to bring to life the inventions and discoveries of Lichfield’s famous Georgian resident, Erasmus Darwin.

International new media artist Andy Mckeown gave around 300 students from all age groups within the school the opportunity to learn how to utilize new media processes by animating Darwin’s life’s work. The project, which is part of a major community arts project funded by Tesco, allowed budding young artists the chance to embrace contemporary art practice and be involved in the production of a unique artwork. Each student produced their own short animation which when combined together will produce a stunning collection which will be displayed at a free exhibition on the 21st August at Erasmus Darwin House.

Andy is at the forefront of new media fine art, and his work has been received with much acclaim in exhibitions worldwide, including a recent major work shown at an international projection art exhibition in Florida. As a gift at the end of the weeks workshop project Andy was kind enough to give the school one of his highly collectable mono-prints.

As part of the workshops children were invited to look into the life of Darwin, choose one of his many inventions and then utilize artistic software developed by Andy to create quite stunning individual animations. The Project, which also involved students from Saxon Hill School, has had a big impact upon the school.

“Thank you for the workshops with Andy, we have had a great week. Approximately 300 students and 10 staff have taken part in Andy’s animation workshop. All have embraced the new programmes and have been inspired to continue. It has also had an impact on teaching and learning. The Science department, Saxon Hill School and the ART Department will integrate the programme into new schemes of work. We are also looking at staff development for other subjects. Andy’s enthusiasm and energy resulted in some interesting out comes. We were all over welled with Andy’s generous gift of an original piece of Art work to the school.” Tina Woodward, Art Department

The project and exhibition are one of a number of art based workshops projects and exhibitions in the city over the next 4 months of art which have been funded by Tesco. There will be further chances for people to get involved in the project through free public art workshops during the Big Draw, on October the 9th, as well as through further project being carried out as a part of the project.

Peter Walker Project Coordinator “The aim of the community art project is to bring in artists of the highest calibre to work with different community groups. Andy is an artist with an international reputation and I am delighted that we managed to bring him to the Friary School for a week to carry out this project. By working with such artists, those involved in the workshops are getting a fantastic insight into what it is to be an artist, and furthermore an understanding of artistic possibilities. Tesco’s funding of the project is allowing access to a variety of artistic disciplines with the results being displayed to the general public”.

Free Exhibition 21st August

by 52 Weeks of Art

During the past few months hundreds of local residents have been working with artists as part of a major art project in the city, and on the 21st August the results of some of that work will be displayed. The free exhibition runs from 11am - 6pm.

‘The Life the Universe and Darwin’ exhibition, which is on show for one day only brings together the work of four nationally recognized artists, and the work of Lichfield residents.

The exhibition, which also gives free entry to Darwin House on Beacon St for the day, is a fantastic opportunity to engage with and enjoy a wide range of artwork, which has responded to the life, and work of Erasmus Darwin. The exhibition is centred on its key exhibit – ‘Inventions of the Mind’ by Kirsty E Smith, who as well as being resident at the Museum during July / August, delivering community art workshops, has also installed a collection of her nationally acclaimed sculptures in the museum for a month long exhibition. She has worked with around 80 individuals whose work will also be displayed.

Also on show on the day will be the work of over 300 students from the Friary School, who worked alongside artist Andy McKeown in the development of animations relating to Darwin’s sketches in his commonplace book, which bring to life his many inventions and discoveries. The result of these will be projected on the 21st within the house.

Artist Rebecca Parker worked with would be photographers in the study of lighting and editing techniques. As a result a document of their studies will be displayed alongside two original artwork she created during the project, which will be seen for the first time on the 21st.

Also on display will be a video and sound work by acclaimed sound artist David Harper, who worked with around 40 students from Netherstowe High School in the production of a piece centred around alternative ways of viewing nature through observation – designed to replicate the scientific approach of Darwin himself.

The event will also see live music provided in the gardens, with acoustic guitar in the morning and string duet from 3pm, alongside a free opportunity for local poets to recite their works between 1-3pm.

Poet Stewart Derry will also be around on the day conducting poetry workshops with a difference in the Inventions room, with the results of these being performed at the end of the day. Refreshments will also be available throughout the afternoon.

“This is a exciting exhibition bringing together the work of professional artists and the community. All of the artists in the project are of the highest level and their time and dedication to the project has been fantastic. Come along during the day to view the work produced and also see inside the house of this great former resident of the city’ Peter Walker Project Coordinator “”.

This is the first of a number of free art activities during late summer and early autumn in the city. On October 9th the return of the Big Draw will see free art activities on the streets including drawing with light, and Lichopoly.

There is also a stunning exhibition by Kate Tilley at the Johnson Birthplace Museum beginning 9th September, followed by a community exhibition in October of works developed with her at Netherstowe High School. The exhibition also see David Harper install soundwork from last year Son et Lumiere in the house for visitors to hear again.

There are also plans for ‘Performance Art Day’ on the 30th October and also on that day a fantastic spectacle when the front of the Cathedral will be lit up by a giant Kaleidoscope.

Life the Universe and Darwin

by 52 Weeks of Art

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