Oakley Vale celebrates their new sculptures
A series of three new artworks were unveiled at Oakley Vale in Corby on 15th July, chosen by local residents as part of our programme, funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery.
Over the past year a group of volunteers from Oakley Vale Community Association have been working with mentor Catherine Hemelryk from NN Contemporary Art after responding to a call out from Made In Corby for groups who wanted to ‘create some extraordinary art’. Other community groups in the initiative had developed a festival, an artist residency and a Mardi Gras event, however the Oakley Vale volunteer panel decided they wanted to commission a piece of public art to enhance their area, and wrote an artist brief which went out locally and nationally to invite creative responses.
Three artists were shortlisted and asked to work up a more detailed proposal, with the panel finally selecting Richard Janes, a Nottinghamshire based artist who has been sculpting for over 20 years. Richard makes site specific work that reflects the heritage of a place and enjoys involving the local community in the process to give a new perspective to the development of the work.
Richard says of the artwork, “The sculptures are a reflection of the oak forest that was originally on the site of this new estate, as well as the existing wildlife and the industry that is still alive in the town”.
At the unveiling the panel led the community along the sculpture trail through the Oakley Vale parkland, encompassing all three pieces; a bench near the playpark, a smaller leaf in the middle of the trail, and the large leaf, designed to be viewed from the main road.
Over 100 local residents joined the panel back at Oakley Vale Community Centre to chat about their new artworks and aspirations for their area over tea and cake, whilst enjoying craft activities and music from the Oakley Rangers group and Kara Hamer.
Paul Balmer, panel member and Chair of Oakley Vale Community Association said, “We are really happy that our sculptures include Corby steel from Tata and have been galvanised by local firm Premier Galvanising. We hope to be able to install more art works around Oakley Vale in the future.”
To see the story of how the sculptures were created CLICK HERE