Public Art At Lancaster Green

The text below is from an email sent by Councillor Blakeman on 1st November. It should be self-explanatory and needs no editorial comment from us. However, we can’t resist the temptation to say WE TOLD YOU SO. This absolutely confirms what we have said all along – that the Council care nothing for the children of Lancaster West, nor anybody else who lives here. They LIED when they said the reconfigured and much reduced Lancaster Green would be designed to meet the needs of local people, and not just as a forecourt for the KALC complex.

(NB The illustration, for those who don’t know, is from the film “The Rebel” in which Tony Hancock played a talentless, but deluded, middle-class twit who fancied himself as a great artist)

Dear Residents’ Forum Member

I have asked for ‘Public Art’ to be included on the agenda of our forthcoming Residents’ Forum meeting.

Discussions with Ms. Johnson led me to believe that the “public art” designated for the KALC development is to be a piece of public art for the local community and not specifically for the Academy or the Leisure Centre. I was therefore concerned to read the following in a Report to the Public Art Panel meeting held on 24 October, which seems to suggest that the Aldridge Foundation and the Council have taken ownership of this part of the project without any local consultation.

As I recollect it, we believed strongly that local children should have a major input into the choice of the public art for this site, but their involvement – and also ours – seems to have been completely by-passed.

It is unclear who decided that the public art would have to be appropriate “for both parties”, i.e. the Academy and the Leisure Centre – but not appropriate for the local community – nor how it was decided that “a freestanding sculpture is needed”, nor why this particular theme has been adopted for the sculpture, nor who selected the preferred artists without first consulting the local community to see whether the community agrees that their work is suitable for this site.

Many thanks.
Cllr. Judith Blakeman

Arts in the Public Realm
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Report from Ann Elliott
October 2012

I have attended two meetings with the sponsors and architects of Kensington Academy on 17 July and 19 September. Representatives from RBKC with responsibility for the Academy and for the Leisure Centre were present for the first meeting, but unfortunately there was no one representing the Leisure Centre at the second meeting. On 17 July discussions were general and explorative with considerations for what kind of public art would be appropriate for both parties and where a work of art, or works of art could be located within the scheme.

The main themes of the Academy are Entrepreneurship and the Arts. The Aldridge Foundation has taken the image of Pegasus as its symbol for entrepreneurship. The Leisure Centre’s ‘brand’ is better – better quality of fitness, leisure, libraries, and performing arts facilities for all.
Any linking ‘theme’ for a work of art seemed to be elusive at this stage.

At the next meeting I gave two presentations, one on artists whose interest might be aroused by the Pegasus theme, and another on sculptors whose interest was in materials, surface treatments such as paving and words.

The Landscape Architects have since the meeting advised against any interventions into road or paving surfaces. Therefore, it would seem that a freestanding sculpture is needed. Of the artists whose work was represented the groups preferred Emma Biggs, Gary Breeze, Zadok Ben-David, Sally Matthews, Nick Hornby and Tom Hill. Please find attached printouts of the two presentations.

As this was just the first round I need to think further and deliver more ideas on suitable artists to the next meeting, which is to be held on 8 November 2012. I should be most grateful for any guidance or suggestions from members of the Public Art Panel, especially regarding the issue of whether one or more pieces should be placed on the site.

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