The Town Council have started an initiative to celebrate and encourage the arts in Melksham. Here are some great Art initiatives in Melksham that you can already enjoy. If you have ideas for future projects please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melksham has benefitted from some professional art installations in recent years.
Melksham is Great
This is a trail of small sculptures all around the town that were created by artist Verity-Jane Keefe in 2017. A blog post here describes the project, which is a series of everyday objects celebrating Melksham's history.
photo from Mel Rolph
George Ward Gardens Art
An extensive art installation was unveiled in George Ward Gardens on 2 December 2020.
The art installation by Julie Edwards and Ron Thompson of Planet Art, which was chosen to run the project, was commissioned by Persimmon Homes and Wiltshire council, as part of the 106 agreement to produce public art work for the new housing development.
As part of the process, a consultation was held with Melksham residents, including people living in George Ward Gardens and workshops with local schools, and Planet Art developed a series of proposals which were put on display in Melksham Town Hall for a public vote. The final designs were chosen and artists have been working on them for the past nine months.
As part of this commission Planet Art have also been mentoring local artists Jack Raisey a former George Ward student, and Joanna Mary Mountain-Lawrence an artist who lives in Lacock to develop their skills as public artists.
Artist Julie Edwards said: “We are delighted to be able to unveil the works, albeit virtually, which have all been influenced by the former George Ward School logo, and include a Rings of Harmony entrance sculpture, river seating, handmade bricks made by residents, and a school inspired art trail across the Persimmon Homes site off Bath Road.
“Planet Art would like to thank Persimmon Homes, Ibstock brick Cattybrook, who supplied the raw clay material and fired the work, as well as the Melksham steering group and parish council, who have been fundamental to the success of the work. We would also like to show our appreciation and thanks to Diana Hatton who has managed the project and the residents of George Ward Gardens for their understanding while installing the works.”
On behalf of Persimmon Homes Wessex, Senior Planner James Proyer, said: “We’re really excited to finally see the unveiling of the new artwork at George Ward Gardens. A lot of hard work and dedication has gone into these installations and we’d like to thank the artists involved.
“The art reflects the history of the site and area and we hope the residents will enjoy the art installations for many years to come.
“This public arts scheme has been delivered as part of the planning permission for the George Ward Gardens development. We believe this investment will be of great benefit to both current residents, as well as future newcomers to the area.”
A video of the unveiling is here
Photo by Linda De Santiz
Exhibitions in Empty Shop Windows
We have four premises for this, with kind permission from the owners.
- The previous Nettl shop on Lowbourne is now a display of paintings by local artists arranged by Cllr Sue Brown. Thank you to Andy Butcher who has let us use the shop for the display.
- The previous Petstown shop on Bath Road is also a display of local artwork, arranged by Cllr Brown, with kind permission and support from Barry and Frances Franks.
- Wiltshire Framing has a small display of art inside the shop, which owner Kev Beadle has been very helpful in setting up.
- Malcolm Shipp of The Hiding Place has let us use his micropub window for the Window of Thanks community art project.
We have several new artists who have come forward asking to exhibit their work, and the plan was to expand the exhibitions in January, but it is all on hold for the moment due to lockdown. We will be resuming and rotating the exhibitions as soon as possible.
This ties in beautifully to the next new initiative:
Lockdown Window Exhibition Challenge
While we are very grateful to have window space in the Town Centre, an even more inclusive scheme is just being started. Artists are being encouraged to use their own windows as display space for their art, to brighten up everyone's walks as we take our daily exercise in Lockdown. This idea was started by artist Tanya Lock in Bradford on Avon, and we will shortly be launching a map of all the people in Melksham who are taking part. If you would like to join in, all you have to do is display your creations - artwork, sculpture, embroidery, pottery, knitting - in a window that is visible to the public, download the sign to print and include in the window, and let us know that you are taking part so we can include you in the map. The aim is to create an intercative, ever expanding map of creativity across Melksham so that we can celebrate the art that is alreday in the area, as well as inspire and enhance everyone's daily walks.
An additional window based display is
Silver Lining - School staff appreciation
Similar to the rainbows for key workers, this is an initiave started by Melksham woman Beth Dark, to recognise the hard work done by all school staff during the pandemic.
People are making and displaying clouds with silver linings in their windows around Melksham.