When the concept of the Basildon Sculpture Park at Wat Tyler Park was first presented to me, I immediately recognised the great opportunities and benefits that might stem from the development of a community-based art project of potentially national importance being developed within Basildon. A project that could enhance the district’s reputation as a centre of regional cultural significance and an interesting way of displaying art for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors in the truly contemporary environment of the park.
The idea of involving our young people in a series of workshops led by professional artists to develop initial design ideas was a fantastic opportunity for all concerned. The partnerships forged with local schools enabled young people to come into direct contact with professional artists for the first time, benefiting from their skills and experience. The involvement of the schools in the project also engendered a sense of ownership and continued interest in the Sculpture Park, which still persists today.
Local artists showing alongside nationally and internationally established sculptorsÜenabled the sculpture park to be used as a local showcase of innovation, design skills and creativity. And the partnership between the artists, schools and the staff at Wat Tyler Country Park enabled the selection of the sites for the sculptures to be in keeping with the artist’s aspirations while complimenting their physical surroundings and enhancing the natural setting.
This project has brought together many different and diverse organisations, groups and individuals, and has resulted in a major community facility being delivered that adds to the already superb facilities Wat Tyler has to offer.
Cabinet Member for Leisure & Arts
Basildon District Council