The Hanleys’ Community Art Project

The Hanleys’ Village Society has been successful with its application for £8000 of Lottery Funding from the Arts Council.  It will substantially meet the funding requirements for its Hanleys’ Community Art Project.  The project will celebrate the heritage of the Hanleys with the erection of a sculpture in the central area of Hanley Swan.  The sculpture will be a focal point for residents and visitors alike and will provide a tangible link to the history of the villages.

Michael Scheuermann, a professional artist with a studio in Birmingham, has been selected for the project from a short list of six candidates, by a panel led by Maureen Gamble, Head of Art at Worcester University.  Michael specialises in stone carving and has a wide portfolio of international commissions.  One of his pieces was exhibited at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show (click here for more information).  Michael said, “I am especially looking forward to working with the community and creating a piece of public art for the enjoyment of all”.

In the first two stages of the project Michael will be working with gifted and talented pupils from Hanley Castle High School to prepare preliminary and detailed designs.  At the end of each stage their work will be exhibited and the village community will be invited to meet the artist and pupils and engage in the design process by finding out the thinking behind the designs and by offering their own ideas.  The final stage will be for the creation of the sculpture.  Preliminary designs were exhibited in the Village Hall just before Christmas.  The exhibition had more than 50 visitors, 26 of whom provided encouraging and useful written comments.  There was a strong preference for a functional sculpture (play or seating) and for a swan theme.  A number of visitors also suggested involving the Primary School if possible.

Kate Rank, Head of Art at Hanley Castle High School, said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to express their ideas and work alongside a professional artist, from conception of ideas through to the final sculpture.”  Jenny McGowran, Chair of the Society, said, “The involvement of the pupils of the High School in the design of the sculpture will provide a cross-generation outlook, which I hope will make it special to all members of the community now and in the years to come”.

Asked why he thought the Arts Council had provided funding, Russell Farraday, who is managing the project said “The project is closely aligned with many of the Art Council’s goals.  It brings art to the people in their communities and encourages more people to engage with the arts.  At the same time it will help children develop their artistic talent and support a talented artist in extending his practice in a challenging project”.

December 2011

Read about Stage 2 by clicking here