Taking culture to the art of communities as sculptures begin tour

The new pieces after they had been cast.

The new pieces after they had been cast.

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A cast iron sculpture is heading for a cliff top spot as it begins a tour in a new way to take art to the people.

Ps in a Pod, created by artist Louise Plant, features three cast iron pieces, which are arranged differently depending on their surroundings.

Nose's Point at Dawdon will host the display.

Nose's Point at Dawdon will host the display.

It will start its journey at Nose’s Point, in Dawdon, with a special launch tomorrow, before moving on to Wharton Park in Durham, Bishop Auckland Market Place and finally Hamsterley Forest next April.

Durham County Council has commissioned Louise to create the work as part its new approach to the visual arts, which sees works being sited in community locations rather than being displayed in conventional gallery spaces.

Lucy Jenkins, the council’s visual arts manager, said: “Placing artworks outdoors and within our communities will not only make them more accessible to the public, it also enables us to look at them in a different way.

“The four locations we have chosen for Ps in a Pod will allow us to showcase it in very different environments – the coast, the forest, the town and the city.

This piece would simply not have the same impact if it were on display in a gallery.

Lucy Jenkins

“At Noses Point, for example, we are able to take advantage of the reclaimed coastline, which will provide a stunning backdrop for the piece.

“The idea is that different surroundings give the work a different appearance, which in turn makes us respond to it in a different way.

“This piece would simply not have the same impact if it were on display in a gallery.”

The artwork will officially open to the public on Saturday, June 3, with a free family event taking place at Nose’s Point between 11am and 3pm.

A section of Ps in a Pod after it had been cast at the Hargreaves Foundary.

A section of Ps in a Pod after it had been cast at the Hargreaves Foundary.

As well as exploring Ps in a Pod, visitors of all ages will be able to take part in a range of activities, including mask-making, improvised drama, a treasure trail and the chance to create their own sculpture using mini Ps.

Activities will be based in a marquee and toilet facilities will be provided.

The Ps, each of which weighs about a tonne and measures one metre cubed, were made at Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax, where works by Angel of the North creator Antony Gormley have also been cast.

Although all three are roughly the same shape – formed of five separate limbs joined together at the centre – there are subtle differences between them, giving the work the theme ‘the same but different’.

The council says the intention is to mirror the way in which humans have the same basic form but are each unique.

The way that the sculptures take on a new form when they are positioned together is also intended to symbolise the impact humans can have when they come together.

The pieces are also intended to embody a sense of freedom and adventure.

The installation, which has been funded by Arts Council England and County Durham Foundation, will be accompanied by a programme of educational sessions in local schools.

As well as helping children explore the artwork, visiting artists will use dance, drama, music and the visual arts to consider issues such as personal rights and responsibilities, other people’s lives and challenging stereotypes.