Most venues across the country would be envious of the public art that has been donated for display in Horsham.
Three of the main examples are The Rising Universe by Angela Conner, The Swans Landing on Water by Lorne McKean and the Light Tree by Steve Geliot. Every one of these no longer matches the image that their artists envisaged -they don’t work properly. This is because in various ways they have been neglected becoming victims to a lack of commitment, proper management and maintenance. Sadly I feel that In allowing this to happen the council is failing to uphold the dignity and credibility of Horsham town.
All works of art should enhance their surroundings lending a sense of culture and diversity to the townscape.
It was interesting to listen to a broadcast on BBC Radio Sussex about the demise of The Rising Universe and I could not help agreeing with comments being made by Susannah Brady who challenged the view of HDC’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Heritage; he feels there is now no option but to have the ‘Shelley Fountain’ removed. Ms Brady raised the question of money being wasted on West Street when it could have been more productively used to refurbish the Rising Universe and the area around it. She feels that giving up on a world class sculpture is wrong.
I would agree that unless we can restore the ‘Shelley Fountain’ to a durable version of its former glory it cannot be left in the decayed and deteriorated state that it is currently in. Decisions about its care and management over the years have been poor and inadequate.
We now have a ‘hat-trick’ of sculptures that don’t function which is just about the last straw! No movement or water in the ‘Shelley Fountain,’ no water for the Swans and no light for the Light Tree.
Horsham town is starting to look like a place where art and culture are of little importance. All street furniture and embellishments including works of art must be given suitable attention to keep them up to standard, clearly that should be sensibly factored into appropriate budgets. Horsham is a place where individuality, heritage and quality have always mattered.
It will be hard to promote a significant Arts Festival in an atmosphere where world class artists are practically ignored. The town’s works of art need attention before any more are threatened with removal..
Susannah Brady has been running the Save the Shelley Fountain Facebook Page. I do not know her but she has some intelligent ideas.
(LDem) Horsham district councillor for Trafalgar, Chart Way, Horsham
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