A programme of temporary and permanent artworks is being commissioned to support a mixed use development in Yate, South Gloucestershire. Yate developed significantly during the 20th century as a centre of manufacturing and the site of the new development was once mined for a mineral called celestine (or spar). By 1960 Yate was the biggest producer of celestine in the world. In the 1960s the Czech sculptor Franta Belsky was commissioned to create an artwork for Yate’s new purpose-built shopping centre which at the time was acclaimed for its modernity.
The North Yate development area occupies 100 hectares of former farmland between the town’s outer suburbs and the more rural aspect at Yate Rocks to the east and Tanhouse Lane to the north. The development will result in up to 2,450 new homes, a new Community Centre and local centre with retail, a new primary school and employment space. It will establish new pedestrian and cycling routes and bridleways across the site, significant new public realm and open spaces including play provision. The development is due for completion by 2030.
The arts programme for the development consists of three related creative projects that will evolve as the development progresses. The first project, a commission by Bristol-based artist Jo Lathwood, will result in the design and construction of a temporary outdoor structure designed by the artist in 2019 for use by local residents. This structure will house an off-site programme of temporary creative activities, with the aim that visiting artists and local artists and creatives will lead on different events.
A second commission will invite an artist to explore the retained natural and wild spaces of the site (including hedgerows, ponds, trees, meadows and green spaces) through small-scale commissioning that will encourage people to use, visit, enjoy and care for these green spaces. The programme will culminate in a permanent artist commission in a new public space within the development that will explore the area’s history of celestine quarrying. The creative projects will enable commissioned artists to explore the physical landscape and heritage of the area and support the creative infrastructure within the town. Key aims of the programme are to ensure that the approach supports best practice in public realm commissioning, and prioritises quality and innovation.
Suzanne was appointed by the project landscape architects LDA Design as their art consultant, to research and write the Public Art Plan setting out how this arts programme will be delivered, on behalf of Heron Land. Barratt Homes are now delivering the development and Suzanne is overseeing project delivery on behalf of the housing developer.