Brown Fields, Blue Skies

Project: Brown Fields, Blue Skies
Location: Runcorn & Widnes
Commissioner: Halton BC & Widnes Waterfront EDZ
Cost: £10,000
Co-Curator: beam
Artists: Tea (Peter Hatton, Val Murray and Lynn Pilling)
Programme: 6 months
Atoll Service: Public Art Curator and Consultant for Beam on behalf of Halton BC
Project Status: Completed 2008


Description: In affiliation with beam, Ian Banks prepared the commissioning strategy for Widnes Waterfront EDZ and the public art strategy for Halton Borough Council generally. Works also involved commissioning initial artist residencies for artist collective TEA who produced an action-research arts investigation of Widnes waterfront called Brown Fields Blue Skies. This residency was produced alongside one for artist-filmmaker Jordan Baseman who produced his short film Perfume Disco Coma.

Ian Banks acting on behalf of Beam as curator and public art consultant for Halton Borough Council, created in 2007 the Art in Public Places public art strategy for Halton waterfront and a commissioning strategy for Widnes Waterfront EDZ. A critical first phase of this was to establish a Public Art Steering Group and then commission some initial temporary artist commissions as a precursor to test-the-water for Halton Borough Council as it were.  Following a lenghty selection process, the two eventual commissions  including artist collective Tea (Peter Hatton, Val Murray and Lynn Pilling) who created an in-site public engagement and environmental exploration of the waterfront via Brown Fields, Blue Skies, and where they set up temporary ‘hides’ on the wasteland left by the chemical industry and invited experts and passers by to take tea with the three artists and exchange ideas about the place.

Developing on from Art in Public Places strategy was the ultimate commissioning in 2009 of a permanent, iconic public art work called Future Flower by London-based architects and artists Tonkin Liu. The giant galvanised steel flower is 14m tall and 4.5m in diameter. The public artwork was visualised as a precursor to the (then) proposed Mersey Gateway suspension bridge, since completed (formally opened in June 2018).

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Categories: Public Art

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