Sculptural bench: Innovative public art project unveiled in Angmering

Angmering’s brilliant new sculptural bench, an innovative public art project, has been officially opened by the students who helped design it.

Public artist Tim Ward worked with students at The Angmering School to come up with design ideas and villagers then voted for their favourite.

Sunflower Dog & Rainbow Bench, created by students Lily, Ruby and Safiya, was the winning design and the trio cut the ribbon on Wednesday, November 24, to launch it in front of a gathering of project partners and residents at Angmering Community Centre.

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Simon Lilley, headteacher at The Angmering School, said it was all about creativity, collaboration and community.

Renowned public artist Tim Ward with The Angmering School students at the unveiling of the new sculptural bench at Angmering Community Centre. Picture: Steve Robards SR2111243

“This will sit in the heart of our local community for many, many years to come and will remind the students of their input, remind us all of the key messages which it represents and will provide a place for people to sit and take a moment, and ponder and reflect on all the positive things in life.”

Tim praised the students for their innovative thinking, which included a desire to make the bench accessible to all.

He said: “I helped enable the students to come up with their ideas. It is nothing that I would come up with, it is something unique to the students and Angmering, and I think it is very special. I am really pleased to be part of it. I think the dog is a brilliant idea.”

The new sculptural bench is unveiled at Angmering Community Centre. Picture: Steve Robards SR2111243

The project was led by the youth arts charity Artswork as part of the Arun Inspires programme.

Beccy East, Artswork’s programme manager for Arun Inspires, said: “This project is a really important part of our work in the district as it places young people’s creativity visibly at the heart of their community.

“The rainbow is here as a symbol of hope and a reminder of what we’ve valued over the past year and with the dog to ward of loneliness, this is a unique and optimistic take on the world and the village.”

The project started in March 2020, so it has been delayed due to the pandemic, but Beccy said this was the only part of the programme that was able to continue fully through lockdown and school closures, and it stood as a testament to the commitment of the school, the artists and all the partners.

Nikki Hamilton Street, chairman of Angmering Parish Council, said collaboration was the key and it was the start of many exciting projects for the village.

“We all know that lives are enlivened by art in the community and art begins to get people to connect together. We want to create and encourage creativity to thrive in our community. We hope this is the first of many community-led sculptures in Angmering and we have a long-term, aspirational plan to create a sculpture trail.”

Andy Cooper, Arun district councillor for Angmering, presented certificates of recognition to students involved in the project.

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