TWO “significant” new visual art projects for Lichfield launched in the city this week.
The St Chad Statue Project and the Lichfield City Sculpture Trail were unveiled at Lichfield Cathedral on Tuesday (April 21).
Crowds of schoolchildren were among those gathering inside the cathedral for the launch, which saw local artist Peter Walker, founder of The City of Sculpture, introduce the schemes.
The Lichfield City Sculpture Trail, as part of the City of Sculpture Project, is the first such trail for Lichfield, designed and developed to highlight the city’s many artistic treasures and to help people see the place through artists’ eyes.
The City of Sculpture Project started in 2005 after discussion between Mr Walker and composer David Harper to create new work, exhibitions and events in the city.
Having grown up in the area with “limited access” to visual arts yet going on to develop artistic work nationally and internationally, the project was developed to bring something back to an area they cherish.
The first part of a multi-layered visual arts initiative, the sculpture trail aims to increase participation, access and understanding of visual arts.
Artworks on the trail include the Sleeping Children within Lichfield Cathedral, the statue of Captain Smith in Beacon Park’s Museum Gardens, the Dr Johnson Mosaic on Bird Street, the Reading Girl on St John’s Road, the Samuel Johnson Monument in the Market Square and the Formation of Poetry sculpture on Tamworth Road.
The trail can be completed in approximately two hours, or visitors can choose to explore smaller sections of the city.
It can also be completed using smartphones and tablets.
“It is about making an opportunity for people to have a wider access to the arts and Lichfield is the perfect environment to do that,” Mr Walker told the Mercury.
In addition to the sculpture trail, the cathedral also celebrated the launch of the St Chad Statue project.
Mr Walker has been commissioned to design and create this major new artwork, which will take the form of a three metre tall bronze representation of St Chad.
The launch gave visitors an opportunity to see a model of the statue, as well as a series of design sketches.
The statue will become a striking new feature in the grounds of the cathedral in the next two years.
Mr Walker, who will also be working with the cathedral over the coming years as resident artist, plans to incorporate the public as much as possible as the statue is developed.
“As an artist working on such a prestigious project in the area I come from, it is a great honour personally,” he added.
“But the key is to involve the community as much as possible.
“The point of public art for me is in the title – it’s public.”
Numerous events, including workshops about St Chad, are planned to take place as the statue progresses.
Go online to www.thecityofsculpture.co.uk