New public sculpture to champion women’s achievements in Leeds

A project managed by Leeds Arts University with Leeds City Council and Rachel Reeves MP is seeking to commission a new public sculpture which will recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in the city of Leeds.

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The project, conceived by Rachel Reeves MP, is now looking to commission an artist to create an iconic public sculpture to represent the accomplishments of multiple women in the city, creating a more balanced gender representation of public sculpture in Leeds.

It is proposed the artwork will be located at the heart of the new development of Gateway Court at Quarry Hill, home to BBC Yorkshire, Leeds College of Music and Northern Ballet, and sited prominently at the top of a green landscaped, tiered public space visible from Eastgate and The Headrow.

The selected artist will be paid a fee of £10,000 for the piece, which is expected to cost approximately £40,000 to be produced.

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Rachel Reeves, MP Leeds West, said:

“It’s incredibly exciting that after many months of planning with Leeds Arts University and Leeds City Council, we are another step closer to creating a city centre sculpture that truly celebrates the women of Leeds. The achievements of women have been under-represented in local art and culture for too long but the Artist’s Brief, which invites artists to submit their ideas for a sculpture commemorating women’s achievements, is a fantastic opportunity to develop the city’s cultural offering. 

I am very much looking forward to seeing the ideas put forward for this project and would encourage as many artists as possible to get involved in this historic piece of work”

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor, Leeds Arts University, said:

“It has been a pleasure to be involved in this project, particularly since some of the world’s most significant sculptors are alumni of Leeds Arts University, including Barbara Hepworth. The project will offer a new opportunity for established, and up-and-coming, artists to propose how we can celebrate women’s contribution to Leeds with an innovative and thought-provoking new sculpture.

We are looking for work that will stimulate debate and inspire the next generation of women to be bold and confident in what they can achieve.”

The public will be given the opportunity to see the shortlisted artworks in an exhibition held in the new gallery at Leeds Arts University in May 2019, following which the chosen artist will work with the University Curator on a programme that will lead up to the final installation. The exhibition will coincide with a major fundraising campaign, which hopes to find support both from the public and corporate sponsors keen to engage with the project.

The project is seeking applications from artists ideally based in the UK, with experience of delivering public projects on a similar scale. The deadline to submit is 21 September 2018 and any interested artists can find out more at www.leeds-art.ac.uk/feminist-public-sculpture

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