Blank canvas set out for art to take shape

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Empty platform at Liverpool Parish Church. Pic © Ed Baldwin / JMU Journalism

The challenge is on to bring a compelling new sculpture to the city’s already iconic skyline, as an invitation has gone out to artists to submit ideas for an empty plinth.

A vacant platform outside Our Lady & St Nicholas Church near the Liver Building will be the setting for changing artworks which will be selected from submissions by artists across the North.

The Liverpool Business Improvement District Company (BID), in conjunction with the church, has commissioned city gallery, dot-art, to ask sculptors to put suggestions forward.

Lucy Bryne, Managing Director of dot-art, told JMU Journalism: “The Liverpool Plinth at St Nick’s Church has been empty for several years, so we’re delighted that Liverpool BID Company and Liverpool Parish Church have commissioned us to bring a thrilling piece of new art to this beautiful area of the city.”

YouTube: Stephen Nulty

The initiative aims to fulfil one of the pledges in the BID’s business plan for the Commercial District – to create a public art programme to give an enriched experience for those visiting and working in the area.

The platform at the parish church – also known as ‘St Nick’s’ – has been empty since the removal of Brian Burgess’s ‘Christ on a Donkey’. It will host a new sculpture every 12 months on rotation, with the first one set to be unveiled in spring 2018.

Liverpool Parish Church. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

The Rev Dr Crispin Pailing, rector of Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: “There is a long history of the church helping the arts to flourish.  Art does not have to be explicitly religious to connect with people’s spirituality. We see this as an opportunity to help animate the city, and for those who engage with the sculpture to experience new horizons.

“We want to attract more visitors to the area, however the sculpture isn’t just for visitors; we also see this as an opportunity for workers from around the area to see what I hope will be a brilliant sculpture.”

The piece will be showcased overlooking Chapel Street and the waterfront side of the church, with the idea inspired by the fourth plinth artworks in Trafalgar Square, London, in 2010.

Sculptors living or working in the North of England are asked to submit existing work for consideration before the closing date of January 7, 2018, at no cost.

Along with the honour of going on public display, the winning artist will also receive a £1,000 prize.

About Ed Baldwin, JMU Journalism