Public Art Needs Continuity

Project Focus: Beyond, Leidsche Rijn, 1999-2009
Seminar Venue: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4LG
Date: Tuesday 13th October 2009, 11am – 5pm (registration 10.30am)

Tom van Gestel
, Lead Commissioner for Beyond and a Commissioner for SKOR, Amsterdam
Liesbeth Bik
, Bikvanderpol, Commissioned artists for Beyond
Clare Lilley
, Curator, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Christoph Schäfer
, from Park Fiction, Artist-commissioners, Hamburg
Malcolm Miles
, Writer, Urban Geographer, Professor of Cultural Theory at University of Plymouth
Paul O’Neill
, GWR Research Fellow at Situations

The Seminar focused on issues relating to Beyond, a public art programme that has been realised over a ten-year period in the context of Leidsche Rijin, a city extension to Utrecht in the Netherlands. Commissioned by an artistic advisory team and led by Tom van Gestel from SKOR (The Foundation for Art and Public Space, a public art organisation based in Amsterdam), Beyond’s programme has been premised on an evaluation of the characteristics of Leidsche Rijn as a lived space undergoing construction. It has delivered numerous social sculptures, public events and research-based temporary artworks by artists, designers and architects. The programme will be completed in September 2010, culminating in a sculpture park consisting of newly commissioned permanent artworks.

This Seminar explored the commissioning of both temporary and permanent public art, particularly in the context of urban and residential developments. The Seminar addressed the following key questions:

  • How did the commissioner develop a series of permanent and temporary commissions over time and at what point did they decide to produce a Sculpture Park consisting of permanent artworks after a ten-year temporary public art programme?
  • What are the different ambitions inherent in both temporary and permanent public art commissioning?
  • What are the main challenges for the artist and the commissioner of temporary and permanent public art in the context of regeneration, urban and residential developments?
  • What can we learn from the experience of long-term commissioning models and what are the intended legacies for a place and its inhabitants after the commissioning process has ended?