Wait for sculptures may soon be over

CRAIGAVON Council is to soon decide where an expensive bronze statue is to be located in Lurgan town centre.

Costing £62,500, it is one of two sculptures created for Lurgan and Portadown which have been stored at a Council depot at Carn since June 2011.

And following an ‘extensive’ technical survey, the Council’s Development Committee is to discuss the review of proposed sites.

Designed and developed by renowned sculptor Maurice Harron, the statue stands over nine feet tall and weighs over one tonne.

A Council spokesperson said: “It is vital that the correct location is found for the sculptures in the town centres, which can house both their weight and size and also maximise their outstanding visual impact while respecting their surroundings.

“Consultation has taken place with both Councillors and the local community to identify suitable sites and, in turn, an extensive technical survey reviewing the sites has been completed and will be re-presented to Members at the next Development Committee meeting.”

There has been two phases of work associated with developing these magnificent artworks. The first was an at-risk pre-phase commissioning with public consultation which was paid for by Council in 2009.

The second phase was the application for funding of public art works made to the Arts Council Northern Ireland by Council Officers in April 2010. In December 2010 ACNI confirmed that the application was successful and the money secured. It was not until funding had been secured that the internationally renowned artist Maurice Harron started work on the pieces in January 2011.

“The initial ideas for the Lurgan and Portadown sculptures arose from what Maurice knew about each town and consultation with the public during a series of meetings. At each of the meetings, representatives from each town identified long lists of possible themes, that were characteristic or were considered to be notable or historic and that said something about the identity of their place,” said the Council spokesperson.

The sculpture for Lurgan is a man and a woman, The Linen Bleachers, depicting the linen trade in Lurgan. Maurice went with this idea as during the public sessions in Lurgan, linen manufacture was repeatedly mentioned as an important part of the life and traditions of the town.

The sculpture for Portadown is a group piece reflecting the influence of the apple industry with the three figures holding up segments of an apple.

The cost of each sculpture was £62,500 (Arts Council funding £37,500 and £25,000 from Council) and they were delivered in June 2011 and stored according to Mr Harron’s instructions at Carn Depot until such time as all phases of the Public Realm Works are completed.