Art installations sought as part of work to make the city centre more attractive alongside physical distancing measures

Artists, designers and arts organisations are today invited to bid for commissions for installations as part of work to make the city centre more attractive and welcoming alongside physical distancing measures.

There are three commissions available - Union Street for up to £50,000, West End for up to £25,000, and Schoolhill/Upperkirkgate for up to £25,000 – for the temporary arts-based installations.

They would be complementary to the on-going work as part of the Spaces for People programme which is part of a national strategy to create walking and cycling spaces in towns and cities across Scotland to help people to physically distance in the fight against coronavirus.

Aberdeen City Council was awarded a ringfenced £1.76million grant from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund, and measures taking place in several locations around the city include temporary pedestrianisation, pavement widening, bike lanes, and one-way travel. The measures will support local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and the local economy as people will be able to queue safely while physically distancing to help prevent a second spike of coronavirus.

Pavement extension benches are also being installed around the city centre along with flowers and greenery to make the new pedestrianised areas more attractive to walk around.

For the temporary arts installations, visual artists, designers, groups of artists or arts organisations are invited to apply. Applicants must be proficient in large scale visual arts installations, and/or street art or mural works, and must be able to demonstrate a history of delivering a high quality, innovative arts practice, adaptive to working within the public realm.

Applicants can apply for one or more than one commission offered, working collaboratively with other arts organisations or local businesses to deliver their proposal.

Applicants must have the capacity to provide a full project design, followed by project delivery on site in accordance with the timeline set out in the brief, and have a track record of producing work which impacts on the social and cultural life of a particular region or place. There is a short time frame for the work and those applying must have the capacity to start their temporary artwork on Monday 3 August with a target completion date of Thursday 20 August.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 21 July 2020, and more details and an application can be found at https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/spaces-people-including-city-centre.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “Culture has been identified as having an important role to play in supporting Aberdeen’s social and economic recovery, recognising not only the unique strengths of the city’s cultural offer across many art forms but also the specific qualities, connections and experiences culture can provide.

In addition to the pavement extension benches and planters full of flowers, the art installations will help make the new pedestrianised areas more attractive when people come into the city centre for shopping and leisure.

“We know from projects such as Nuart, Look Again and Spectra, how much residents and visitors enjoy public art, so we’re very much looking forward to seeing the proposals that come forward from our arts community to help make the city a vibrant and brighter place to live in and visit.”

The temporary works taking place around the city where traffic is re-routed to free up carriageway space for businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, have already been carried out on Union Street and nearby streets, and in the communities of Torry and Rosemount.

Aberdeen City Council will continue to review, monitor, and evaluate the interventions while discussions are held with stakeholders, and when the measures are in place. The continual reviewing may mean changes to the interventions, and it is also a requirement of the fund, which is being administered by sustainable transport body Sustrans Scotland.

The length of time the temporary measures will be in place will be determined by NHS and Government guidance for physical distancing.


PiCTURE CAPTION: ACC transport spokesperson Cllr Sandra Macdonald on one of the pavement extension benches on Union Street.