ART PROJECT: It will enhance Spalding’s future

John Charlesworth
John Charlesworth
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I wonder if I might fill in the background to your Art Showpiece story (Spalding Guardian, July 2).

First, the public art commission for the town centre would not be happening at all, had it not been for Spalding and District Civic Society, which was not mentioned.

The Market Art project was its brainchild.

Society members suggested it to Transported last year, and we were delighted when it decided to adopt the proposal as one of its ‘Art on Your Doorstep’ projects, in partnership with the society.

Twenty-two artists responded to the brief, and the working party set up to oversee the project eventually selected Joseph Hillier to carry out the first of the art works.

In the meantime, we had also contributed the ‘Market Art’ proposal to the Lincolnshire Free Press campaign for ‘Big Ideas’ to regenerate the town centre (the Big Ideas assessment panel, chaired by John Hayes, included representatives of both county and district councils, the Rotary club, the chamber of commerce, and the press).

We were again delighted when we learned the proposal had won their all-round support, too.

So what exactly is the Market Art proposal? At its heart lies a celebration of what was once a major feature of our town centre life.

Before the cattle market was built in 1938, the town centre itself was the cattle market. The Sheepmarket was full of sheep, cattle milled and bellowed in New Road, pigs were penned off in Red Lion Street, and so on, with the annual statutes or hiring fair in Hall Place in May.

The Market Art proposal was to mark each of these locations with a corresponding public work of art.

The sheep sales would be recalled by a sculpture or a mosaic, perhaps in the Sheepmarket, the cattle similarly in New Road.

Joseph Hillier has chosen the hiring fair as his subject, and he will be talking about his work and his approach in creating a sculptural piece for Hall Place, at the South Holland Centre on Tuesday, July 14, at 7pm (he is currently developing the use of innovative digital technology in his work). The event is free, and offers a great chance to find out more about a feature which should enhance our town centre for years to come for residents and visitors alike.