Earlier this year, The Tetley, along with a board of community members, stakeholders and arts organisation members chose Chris Jarrett as the artist who would create two gateway sculptures for Dewsbury Road in Leeds.
Dewsbury Road in South Leeds is a major travel route from the South into Leeds City Centre for commuters. Commissioning these sculptures comes in tandem with a significant investment into improvements to the road, with residents hoping this will ease traffic and enable smoother journeys to and from the city for drivers and pedestrians.
Local businesses have formed a Town Team which meets regularly to give strategic leadership in the area, helping promote trade, and have a say in the improvements to the area. Among road improvements, the regeneration also hopes to help the area feel safer, upgrade the aesthetic qualities of Dewsbury road and introduce environmental aspects such as a green areas and trees.
Sheffield-based Chris Jarrett will be creating the final designs for two road-side sculptures. He aims to engage local residents in a series of workshops, where they will have a say in the final colour way and design of the sculpture. Chris is fascinated by colour theory and this has a strong influence in his work. He has often created outdoor installations for the public and private sphere, his work is colourful, mischievous and playful. You can see some of his work here. What I can imagine is a great match for Dewsbury Road.
Currently draft designs for Dewsbury road have been approved and the next stage (possibly my favourite part) is working with the public. I joined Chris, this winter on one of over 8 public consultation / creative workshops. Here, he talks to adult members of an assisted living facility about colour theory and shapes. We then go on to create 2D maquette’s of the final product in our favourite colour and shape combinations. The favourite colour combination, at the end of all the engagement workshops will be chosen as the final design.
The ideas is simple, and involves minimal effort from a group. From all that were made, I can’t predict what the public will choose out of a possible 30-something combinations of shapes and colours. I look forward to see Chris’ final designs early in the near year, before the sculptures completion in 2017.