Telford - a Makers Mark - the case for public art
Thomas Telford’s stonemasons mark is a three dimensional version of the complete mark as recorded (in parts) in RTC Rolts book on the famous civil engineer and as contrived and designed as a whole by Allan Howard (Telford Development Corporation (TDC) -Principle Landscape Architect / Head of Landscape Design 1972-1987). Parts of this distinctive mark are found on bridges in Eskdale, Scotland and on Somerset House in London.
At 5.5 meters high, it was erected in 1986 by Brian Lewis Structural Engineer and followed a model made by the Telford Development Corporation in house model maker Eric Price working out of a carpenters shop in Much Wenlock. The maquette was made with a view to a metal sculpture but was “fattened up” when the material changed and lost a meter in intended height (Allan Howard was on holiday at the time). It was manufactured by Rod Thorpe at Bridgnorth.
The sculpture stands on the Limekiln Bank Roundabout on Telford’s improvement to the Watling Street Roman Road (A5) at the eastern entrance to Telford.
Public Art remains incredibly important in our eyes. We take every opportunity to include it in schemes and the more you look the more you see!
Here are 10 reasons to support public art…
1. It’s public! Everyone has access to public art. It’s directly in the public sphere and not confined to galleries or museums.
2. It enriches our physical environments, bringing streetscapes, squares, town buildings and schools to life.
3. It’s a great tool for civic engagement, building social capital and encouraging civil discourse.
4. It provides professional opportunities for artists and cultivates an environment in which the creative class thrives.
5. It boosts the value of local economies. Businesses supply materials and labour; restaurants, hotels and transport companies benefit from a site that attracts visitors.
6. It’s an investment in place making—measured by livability and quality of life—that also engenders community pride.
7. It connects citizens to their neighbours and their shared history through documentation and celebration, and makes cultural heritage a tangible community asset.
8. It enlivens places where people work, which can improve employee morale, productivity and respect.
9. It creates supportive learning environments. It opens eyes—and minds! It attracts students to environments conducive to both learning and fun.
10. It raises public awareness about important community issues, such as environmental stewardship and respect for diversity.
Hats off to all those commercial developers and Local Authorities who include public art in their schemes and projects.
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