A number of workshops are being held in libraries around the county to give potential volunteers the opportunity to find out more about this exciting project and how they can get involved.
The project has been devised by Meril Morgan, Wiltshire Council’s Arts Lead who is based at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. It is being managed by Creative Wiltshire, a Heritage Lottery funded project also being run from WSHC with myself as this project’s lead.
The Public Art project aims to locate, record and photograph public art, namely artwork made by an artist, arts practitioner or craftsperson and located in publicly accessible spaces and places in Wiltshire. Public artworks are vulnerable to change, whether it be through environmental damage or vandalism, or through redevelopment of an area in or around it. At present very little is known about the whereabouts and extent of public art in the county.
Volunteers are needed to gather data on public art in the community such as the location of the item, its condition, what is known of it and a photograph of it in situ. Data collected as part of the project will be made available in the Local Studies Library at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre with images deposited in the Historic Photograph and Print Collection. The images will be pinned to the Know Your Place site http://www.kypwest.org.uk to map their location geographically. Volunteers can devote as much or as little time as they can spare from the summer to December and join a community effort to help support public art in the places that matter to us all.
I have been running various workshops at Wiltshire’s libraries and at WSHC. The response has been very positive with great excitement at the prospect of getting out and about and discovering just what types of artwork are out there! The lively discussions have centred on how we can adequately define public art in terms of the project with attendees sharing their ideas and giving examples of artwork they already know of. Follow-up sessions have been run at venues in September due to popular demand, to enable volunteers to meet again to discuss their progress.
Volunteers will each receive a volunteer badge. They may need to send material to me via the library van; I have requested they explain who they are and show their identification if needed. I look forward to receiving their data!
If you’d like to keep up to date with my progress I’m @LibLocalStudies on Twitter.
County Local Studies Librarian