As part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the Arts Council of England has decided that the whole of the country is available as one giant blank canvas for a project called Artists taking the lead.
Twelve commissions of up to £500,000 will be awarded to create 12 new works of art across the country; one in each of the nine English regions, and in the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
5 ideas from the South East have been short-listed; one of these proposals has upset some people in Mid Sussex.
Brighton-based Caitlin Easterby & Simon Pascoe of arts organisation Red Earth Would like to create a communal artwork consisting of a 30 metre diameter chalk enclosure on the South Downs, hand-built by local and international communities.
One location proposed for the chalk landmark is on the north facing side of the downs overlooking Ditchling. There are already fears from residents that the extra visitors generated by the feature will cause gridlock in an area that is rather tiresome to navigate through on a quiet day. Some don’t like the idea of the areas natural beauty being interfered with, whilst others would like this Brighton based art group to put their design on the south facing side of the downs overlooking the city.
Short-listed artists are due back in front of the panel at the end of September to present their developed ideas. The panes will then choose the winning commissions in October.
I can’t wait for the fallout if the chalk circle on the South Downs is approved. It could be like Brighton and Hove Albion vs Falmer all over again.