A 100-metre high public artwork isn’t always the answer. Peter McCaughey reflects on why he took a more dispersed approach to an art strategy for a housing project in inner Glasgow - ArtsProfessional
A dispersed strategy
Three years ago we tendered to make an art strategy that would guide the disbursement of monies that were to be levied as part of the tendering agreement between a contractor, Urban Union, Glasgow City Council and the New Gorbals Housing Association (NGHA).
The focus was a new build project that would see the construction of 800 homes in an inner city area of Laurieston rendered blank through demolition. The budget under a community benefits clause was in the region of £400,000 for a process that would last at least ten years and see over 2,000 people move into the area.
We inherited a master plan with an architect drawing that visualised a 100-metre high public artwork, very like the Spire in Dublin. We worked within the community for six months and presented our art strategy.
It didn’t propose a big, shiny million pound spike. Instead, we proposed 20 ideas as opportunities and these were embraced by all involved, including the board of the contractors, who quite liked the big spiky thing, but also understood the attraction of a diverse, dispersed strategy focused as much on ambiences and temporary events as on more permanent changes to the area. The strategy was launched and we were then appointed as caretakers to Art and Living: Laurieston.