ArtsTaunton, the charity aiming to put public art and culture at the heart of Taunton’s regeneration, has launched a pamphlet defining its vision for an iconic artwork atop Creechbarrow Hill. The campaign is billed: Making Taunton Visible.
Taunton’s historic importance is well documented. But today it is known to many as no more than a junction on the motorway, not as a place to visit. It is no longer a destination town.
Arts Taunton wants to help change that. As part of its mission to bring genuine public benefit to Taunton through culture it is hoping to commission a new public artwork for Taunton people and the wider world. It will stand on Creechbarrow Hill, beside the main entrance to the town, as an iconic statement of Taunton’s rich past, its aspirations today and its belief in a vibrant future.
The artwork will be a major West Country landmark, visible as part of distant views from the main-line railway or the M5 motorway, but also a lively presence within the town itself. It will add a contemporary accent to a skyline of proud church towers, those extraordinary structures built by earlier generations to express their sense of who they were and what they believed. The artwork on Creechbarrow Hill will be a clear signal from this generation of Taunton’s renewed ambition and self-confidence.
The hill forms part of the site of the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), a division of the Ministry of Defence. UKHO has been based in Taunton since 1941, mapping the world’s seas and providing hydrographic and geospatial data to
mariners everywhere. Its directors are supportive of the proposed artwork, and the Ministry of Defence, as site owners, have also given provisional approval.
Consultation will be at the heart of the project to create and install the artwork. Preliminary views from local residents have already been sought through a series of events. Most feedback has been very positive, though people naturally have lots of questions. They especially want to know what the artwork will look like!
ArtsTaunton will be involving local people in all aspects of the project as it progresses, encouraging them to contribute their own ideas through small projects and competitions. When the artwork finally rises on Creechbarrow Hill it will carry powerful local meaning and have widespread support.
Funding will be sought in two phases. The first phase will cover all steps leading to the selection of a design. The second will cover the costs of production and installation. It is intended that the money should be raised from grant-giving bodies, foundations, philanthropic corporations and individuals.
The Council will NOT be funding ArtsTaunton’s mission. However Cllr Federica Smith Roberts, Leader of SWT, has told Tone News:
“I am fully supportive of Arts Taunton and the superb work they are doing to promote the arts and culture. The public artwork is a fantastic project which links to our Garden Town vision and will provide a focal point for Taunton that really puts the county town on the map. I would encourage people to get involved and get behind this exciting project which will have wider benefits for the district.”
In response, Kit Chapman, Founder and Director of ArtsTaunton shared with us:
“In launching this massive consultation exercise in Taunton Deane, we are all delighted at the enthusiastic support coming from the Council. Federica Smith-Roberts and her team clearly recognise the importance of place-making and establishing a bold identity for Somerset’s County Town as a destination in its own right”.
For full information and a copy of the pamphlet click HERE.
Arts Taunton is a registered charity and an umbrella arts organisation within Taunton and its area. We work in partnership with local authorities, artists, businesses, employers and cultural organisations to position Taunton as a major cultural hub and a destination town once again.
This is an evolving project. There will be many questions to answer and barriers to surmount. If you would like to be kept up-to-date about developments in our Making Taunton Visible campaign, please do sign up for information and future consultation on our website. More information and FAQs will also be available there.
If you would like to consider making a contribution to the campaign, financially or in kind, we would be very pleased to hear from you.
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