WORK has nearly finished on a public art scheme at the Weymouth Gateway site.
The scheme, co–funded by New Look and Sainsbury’s, has been worked on by artist Andy Kirkby, who lives in Moreton near Dorchester.
The scheme includes three sculptures which will be based at the Mercery Road development.
Installation will be completed at the start of July with the official unveiling by BBC Antiques Roadshow expert and local resident Paul Atterbury, and Weymouth and Portland Mayor Cllr Kate Wheller, taking place on July 16.
Mr Atterbury said: “Public art has often held the key to community improvement, or even regeneration.
“As someone who has always believed in the power of public art, and sculpture in particular, I am delighted to be associated with the Weymouth Gateway project.”
Members of the public contributed stories towards the artwork designs last year.
Mr Kirkby said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the community in sourcing ideas for the three sculptures.
“The enthusiasm and support I have received has not only helped me in the design process but, I hope, instilled a sense of ownership towards the project.”
Mr Kirkby was also helped by Radipole illustrator Katie Rewse and manufacturing company Aquarium Technology Ltd (ATL) which is based on the Granby Industrial Estate in Weymouth.
The majority of the sculptures' production has taken place at Marben Engineering Ltd in Ferndown, and at Andy's studio in Moreton.
Further graphics support was provided by TWF Signs and Graphics of Ferndown. Cllr Ian Bruce, briefholder for community facilities at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, was the council’s representative on the art project’s team.
He said: “Guided by Nicky Whittenham, our Project Manager, we interviewed artists from all over the country to select Andy Kirkby. I am delighted he lives and works on our doorstep.
“Andy has produced public art in Dorset for many years and while I don’t want to spoil the surprise, I think it his best work ever.”
Cllr Rachel Rogers, spokeswoman for tourism and culture at the borough council, said: “I am delighted that Weymouth is adding these unique works to its public art portfolio.”
Nicky Whittenham, public art consultant and project manager, said: “As a local resident who loves Weymouth and its history, it was always important to me have the involvement of the community, central to this commission.
“We struck gold with artist Andy Kirkby whose first move was to engage with people to discover their stories.
“These stories inspired Andy to create three innovative, imaginative and thought–provoking sculptures.”
An exhibition, which reflects Mr Kirkby’s early designs for the sculptures and provides background, will be held in Sainsbury's foyer from the beginning of July.
An online blog has been set up at www.andykirkby.com
Revealing the stories behind Andy’s three works
THE three sculptures include:
l Under the Hill: The artist’s design for the bus shelter to be sited outside the Sainsbury’s store on Mercery Road relates to the folklore about music being heard from underneath the ground at Bincombe Bumps.
l Frame: This sculpture’s design echoes the ‘fashion’ nature of New Look’s operations and has, etched into its surface, designs by local illustrator Kate Rewse celebrating some of the community’s contributed stories.
It is Andy’s way of ‘reflecting’ back to the community the things that people told him during the engagement process.
The wheels used are resonant of those which can be seen on King George III’s bathing machine near the King’s
l Torpedosaur: This design reflects the Jurassic Coast heritage of our area, combined with the Whitehead torpedo factory legacy (the body of the torpedosaurs are being constructed from real torpedo casings).