What is Public Art?
Public art is not an art "form." Its size can be of any size. It can tower as high as the buildings or call attention to the ground beneath your feet. Its shape can be abstract, realistic, or both, and it may be cast, carved, built, assembled, or painted. It can be site-specific or stand in contrast to its surroundings.
Public art is part of our public history, part of our culture and our collective memory. It reflects and reveals our society and adds meaning to our town. As artists respond to our times, they reflect their inner vision to the outside world, and they reflect the history of our public experience.
Didcot Town Council's Public Art Delivery Group
The Town Council established a working group, the Public Art Delivery Group. This group works to realise the opportunities for Public Art installations across Didcot and reports to the Environment Committee.
The costs of any Public Artworks installed would be covered by developers, through Section 106 contributions or the Community Infrastructure Levy, there would be no direct cost to the Town Council or increases to the local Council Tax precept.
Arts in the Town
Commemorative Installation at Didcot Civic Hall
Didcot Town Council has worked with RWE and local artist Suzanne O'Driscoll to install artwork to commemorate the men who lost their lives in the boiler house collapse in 2016.
Suzanne O'Driscoll studied in London at the Central School of Art and Design and as a postgraduate at the Slade School of Fine Art london. Her work can be found in many private and public collections and Suzanne has gained a reputation for her work in metal, producing large-scale sculptures for public art commissions.
Other recently completed commissions include two free standing artworks at the Community Centre, Kingmere, Bicester; a wall sculpture panel for Abingdon outdoor swimming pool; a large wall commission for a new building in Chapel St in Oxford; and the Wantage Cemetery entrance artwork, installed in May 2019.
Art throughout Great Western Park
Great Western Park public arts strategy
In 2014 South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils asked for comments on a draft public art strategy for Great Western Park. The strategy will set out what public art might be built on the site.
Great Western Park is a new development near to Milton Interchange, where 3300 new dwellings and associated community buildings are being built over the next few years. The councils have secured some £600,000 from the developers to be spent on public art on the site. Public art can take many forms so the aim of the strategy is to recommend what kinds of art should be used, what materials and colours should be used and where.
An arts consultant, Peter Anderson Studio, working for the councils spoke in depth to some local residents, councillors, young and older people, businesses and others to get opinions to inform the strategy. An online and paper survey were also made available for people to give their comments on the draft of the strategy.
Eight projects have so far been completed at Great Western Park, with 20 or so to be done.
The Hand of Science installed outside UTC Oxfordshire, which is located at Great Western Park. Each of the blue glass discs is engraved with a different scientific image.