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Slow Art Project

Over the last few months SCA has been collaborating with Chrysalis Arts and Art UK in a national project to create and document thousands of sculptural art works.  This is the largest sculpture project ever undertaken in Britain.  Over the next two years, Art UK is aiming to digitise around 160,000 sculptures, which are located inside galleries, museums and public buildings and outdoors in parks, streets and squares, across the length and breadth of the UK.  Many of these are already viewable on the free-to-access website for enjoyment, learning and research – the first database of its kind in the world.


As part of this national program of events, Kate Maddison has developed shell-ter; a slow art sculpture and community project which took place in Southport between the 1 - 4 May 2019. Working in collaboration with local partners The Atkinson, Southport Contemporary Arts (SCA) and Southport Eco Centre, a slow art ceramic shell sculpture was created in the garden of the Eco Centre with contributions from SCA members, then celebrated during a family afternoon hosted by the Atkinson on Saturday 4 May.


The project revisits sculpture in Southport following the 10-year anniversary of one of the town’s notable works of public art. Kate is the public artist who previously led the Chrysalis Arts team to create the Nautilus sculpture during the award-winning refurbishment of Lord Street which was opened by Ken Dodd in October 2008. To create shell-ter, Kate will partner with expert dry-stone waller Philip Dolphin to build a ceramic shell in the garden of Southport Eco Centre; with members of the local arts community then adding their own personalised ceramic pieces to the artwork.

This also comes under the banner of a Slow -Art project which aims to bring sculpture to the community in an approachable, sustainable way.  It also allows people to take time and reflect during the construction and for a long time after.

The shell sculpture is made from ceramic glazed tiles and bricks donated by Chrysalis Arts, salvaged from Shaws of Darwen, when they still made traditional architectural terracotta. To celebrate the event, Southport Contemporary Arts made a commemorative ceramic cap for the top of the sculpture to mark the ten-year anniversary of Nautilus and the Lord Street Improvements Award by Royal Town Planning Institute North West for Best Enhancement of the Public Realm 2009.


shell-ter connects with the Eco Centre’s mission to raise awareness of coastal sustainability and takes an environmentally responsible approach to creating artwork and exploring ideas with a slow art ethos. The sculpture will explore the themes of creation and destruction, growth and decay, material reuse, natural and human habitat. It will provide a habitat in the Eco Centre garden for small creatures like insects and lizards and in the longer term, the bricks and tiles can again be reused.

Below are a series of pictures which illustrate the involvement of SCA in this project.

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