Monday, June 28, 2010

Common Ground - A roaring success!

COMMON GROUND INSTALLATIO: Saturday morning we all set off from the gallery loaded up with equipment and materials ready for a weekend in Hanley Park. Katie Shipley used our green trolley and carried out a symbolic walk with her memory logs from the gallery to the park. It was already hot even at that time of day, and we were all sure of a beautiful day in the park.On arrival at the park a bustle of activity got underway. Katie made her way to the woodland area to install her logs. This involved quite a hefty digging in process, as the Parkkeeper has asked that the piece remain. We are really pleased that there will be a legacy left in the park after the event - and Katie is pleased to have a piece of permanent public art. We were also really pleased to have a good team of volunteers to help - volunteer Stacey helped Katie with the digging. I went around the site to see how everyone else was getting on.
Michael Branthwaite had possibly the most challenging installation process, involving siting Aphrodite in the top of the waterfall. Volunteer Jane had brought her wellies, and waded into the pond to help. Aphrodite with balloons looked beautiful, and the viewer could be forgiven for thinking that the intervention here was the balloons - as Aphrodite looked like she had always been there.
Ben Faga came up from London to install his animal tracks. This performative piece was due to continue throughout the day, but required some preparation - watering the solid ground to make it possible to create the imprints. Ben had help from L.
Looking across the woodland area there was so much going on, with all of the artists getting on with their projects.
Celine installed her works next to the bowling green, in the little Pagoda, a leftover from 1986 Garden Festival.Marc and Nickie helped each other to install their pieces. Nickie had the foresite to hire a hole borer in order to drill the holes needed to make the sign safe.
Andy's musical sculpture was sited on the small plinth, and looked like it had always been there.
Brian put up his map, and also went across to the train station to install the other half of his piece there.
I then popped over to the pond to see how the S.A.F.E. (Stoke Angling For Everyone) guys were getting along. It was brilliant that they had got involved - being so connected to the park. It was great that they were demonstrating the fun that can be had outdoors, working with young people - offering alternative activities for city kids who may usually find themselves with nothing to do. The S.A.F.E. team were an important part of the weekend, and the S.A.F.E. kids really got involved - exploring all of the art works, and doing some litter picking throughout the day, keeping the site looking great.
Once I had been around the site to see how everyone was getting on I returned to the Bandstand to focus on my piece. I would be repopulating the bandstand and so had to get the bunting and hanging baskets up. My brother Dan was there to help, and was also the First Aider for the weekend.
Then Glen and Andy came to help with the hanging baskets (I am scared of heights).But could just about manage the small steps in order to install the sound piece 'My Dear Tom' in the flower vase at the very right hand side of the image above.
Another of the volunteers Andy helped by putting in the lawn signs, which were there to provide the background to the Quality Streets project, and the funders.
Glen got his piece ready. The view across from his piece to the Pavilion behind worked very well.
And Kate got ready for her green man workshop. Volunteers Rob and Jay went to each piece and hammered in the numbered stakes, to help orientate the viewing public around the site. Volunteer Carly helped with the bandstand and helped Kate, while Behjat and Ben concentrated on documenting everything that was happening. We were very lucky to have such a great team of volunteers - and this was really due to the hard work of David Bethell, who coordinated the volunteers fro the event. The park had burst into activity, as the artists prepared for the day. It was that feeling of anticipation at this point - what will happen? Will anyone come? Will anything go wrong?

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