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Plans progress to produce a new Public Art Strategy for Exeter

Published: 6 December 2021

Plans progress to produce a new Public Art Strategy for Exeter Art Work Exeter

A community-based arts organisation has been appointed to consult with residents and artists on creating a new Public Art Strategy for Exeter.

Art Work Exeter has been appointed by the City Council, in partnership with Exeter Culture and Liveable Exeter, to develop a strategy for public art to enhance quality of life for all residents and visitors to the city.

The strategy will seek to ensure public spaces are designed to engage interest, to be stimulating and unique and act as a focal point to encourage pride of place.

It will recognise that public spaces should be distinctive and special and that public art is a powerful tool in regenerating and celebrating those places.

The strategy will seek the inclusion and involvement of communities at all times and will be specific and unique for Exeter and the surrounding area.

Art Work Exeter will now start the process of consulting with residents and artists on what they want the strategy to mean for their city.

Consultation with the cultural sector and communities begins in December, and a Draft Strategy is due to be presented to the Council’s Executive Committee in the autumn 2022.

Cllr Amal Ghusain, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Communities at Exeter City Council, said: “We were impressed by all the submissions, but Art Work’s proposal really stood out for us, specifically for its understanding of, experience in and total commitment to working with and through communities.”

Dom Jinks, Creative Places Lead in the Innovation, Impact & Business Directorate at the University of Exeter, which hosts Exeter Culture, said: “This is an exciting time for the city that affords us the opportunity to showcase and promote the expertise that exists here.

“Art Work’s proposal was not only collaborative and community-focused but also clearly articulated a long term commitment to making the Public Art Strategy tangible and a reality in terms of delivery.”

The brief attracted a number of high-quality applications from national, regional and local organisations, with Art Work Exeter chosen due to the strength of their submission and collaborative approach.

The city-based community interest company seeks to widen access to, and participation in, contemporary and traditional art in Exeter through an annual event, as well as running a year-round artist and community development programme.

The team working on the Strategy will be led by Creative Director Stuart Crewes and AWE Board member Professor John Butler, an artist and founder of Spacex Gallery. Additional team members include artist-consultant Patricia Dixon, a specialist in learning, participation and strategy development; Carla Hayes, who has extensive experience in developing and delivery participatory public-realm events; and Eleanor Coleman, whose expertise lies in public engagement and project management.

Stuart Crewes, Artistic Director of Art Work Exeter, said: “A new Public Art Strategy for the city is another acknowledgement of the importance in keeping culture at the heart of civic life. AWE are delighted to have been chosen to consult and develop this work. We are interested in Exeter being a place where the focus for new work is on quality, where strengths are played to, built upon and celebrated, where participation and involvement of the citizens is fundamental and we foster a culture of openness to the new and celebration of the historic. We can't wait to start the conversations and hear what you all have to say."

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