Art In Central Park was the Public Art and Engagement programme for the Life Centre, Plymouth. A series of innovative and exciting projects were developed in partnership between Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth City Council to showcase the parks recreational use, beauty, and heritage. The programme aimed to engage with different users of the park while also encouraging new visitors to discover what it has on offer.
Hannah Jones, Curator, Plymouth College of Art and the Arts Unit, Plymouth City Council, collaborated to present a series of contemporary art commissions. Projects ranged from sculpture, live art, performance and guided walks to dog walking with 'top trumps' themed games. The series of commissions ran from April to October 2010.
This Way by Laurence Payot
Laurence Payot’s ‘This Way’ is the first in the series of featured works. Laurence has photographed park users, turning them into life size figures to be placed throughout the park. The figures were placed at seven different sites throughout the park and aimed to surprise the viewer whilst also directing their eyes towards panoramic views of the city or undiscovered areas within the park.
Laurence is a French artist based in Liverpool where she has a studio at The Royal Standard. By making artworks that are often disguised within everyday settings Laurence hopes that for those who do come across her works, they may discover a new way of seeing and thinking, where objects seem to stop the fast pace of our lives and ask us to reflect and look again.
Often using 'chameleon techniques', Laurence is able to create site specific work that looks like it has always belonged there. She does not intend the artwork to stand out at first glance, but when a person discovers it, what is revealed is unexpected.
Top Dog by Jemma Egan
The project 'Top Dog' aims to explore and celebrate the varied array of regular canine visitors to Plymouth Central Park. While walking with her dog Jeannie, artist Jemma Egan met dogs and interviewed their owners asking key questions to award scores for 'style', 'courage' 'brainpower', 'sportability' and 'dogishness'.
The result is Jemma's own version of 'top trump' themed playing cards displayed as large posters and as individual packs of playing cards presented to the dog walkers involved.
The posters can be viewed on the Plymouth Life centre hoardings opposite Plymouth Argyle's football ground.
Jemma takes inspiration from the random things she comes across in everyday life. The charming and whimsical nature of these discoveries informs the playful qualities of her work.
Bandstand by Beth Emily Richards
Visitors to Central Park were treated to live music from the movies as part of a unique project by artist Beth Emily Richards. Beth brought a touch of glamour to everyday life in the park with the creation of a ‘mobile bandstand’ on Saturday 7 August.
Young string players from the South West Camerata travelled throughout the park, stopping at various spots to perform music chosen from conversations Beth had with park users about their favourite film icons and heroes.
Beth explores notions of the performer, macho and the absurd through her performative practice. She is interested in alter-egos and archetypal heroic figures of pop culture.
Inspired by the fact that a bandstand can often act as a focal point for the community; providing a source of entertainment and fun, Beth is interested in how the use of music can change the everyday into something unfamiliar.
Based in Plymouth, Beth is a PVAC artist associate and a director of Project Space 11.