Ideas Test and community partners are delighted to announce the outcome of a recent open call for artists to respond to a commission opportunity at Milton Creek in Sittingbourne. This opportunity is one of Creative Estuary’s large scale co-commissions for the area and has been part-funded by them.

A community panel consisting of individuals from the Friends of Milton Creek, the park ranger, Kemsley and Sittingbourne light railway, Swale arts and media centre, Raybel Charters, Swale Borough Council and representatives from Creative Estuary and Ideas Test worked together to write the artist’s brief. They then met at the Dolphin barge museum to shortlist from 30 applications and interviewed six artists.

A group of people sitting and standing around a wooden table discussing the proposed public art at Milton Creek Country Park.
Brief Writing panel. Photo: Ideas Test

From the shortlist, the panel selected Patrick Walls, a sculptor with experience of working in community settings. Patrick will be coming to Sittingbourne next year to begin work. Anyone from the Milton Creek area who is interested in taking part in the workshops should contact Ideas Test contact@ideastest.co.uk or Kris Staples through the Facebook page.

The aim of the commission is to work with the local community to create a sculpture which will make quality art accessible to be experienced by a wide range of people, increase public creative engagement, and encourage more visitors to the park to enjoy, appreciate and engage with the environment and understand more of its unique features. 

Ideas Test’s Director, Lucy Medhurst said:

“We’re delighted to be working with our partners at Creative Estuary, the Friends of Milton Creek, the Raybel and other community partners to bring a public art work to Milton Creek country park. This process has been fantastic and we very much look forward to working with Patrick and local people to realise a public artwork for Swale.”

Creative Estuary Project Director, Emma Wilcox said:

“The Thames Estuary’s potential to grow as a cultural and creative hub is boundless, and we are committed to supporting our communities to contribute to their creative identity. In everything we do in the Estuary, we want to capture imagination and provide opportunities, and this project at Milton Creek does exactly that.”

Kris Staples, park ranger said: 

Swale Borough Council are looking forward to working on this project with Creative Estuary, Ideas Test and Patrick on what looks to be amazing workshops for some stone art works that will fit in well with Milton Creek.”

Lynda Marshall chair of the Friends said: 

I am very much looking forward to working with Patrick. It will be great to have a new distinctive and original piece of art in the Country Park, especially as 2022 will be the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Milton Creek Trust and the official launch of the Country Park.”

Patrick will be working at the country park next year to develop ideas alongside workshops with the local community. There are likely to be some additional fundraising activities and other opportunities to get involved.

About Creative Estuary

Creative Estuary supports a wide range of cultural projects with new commissions for Estuary-based producers and artists, from activity for emerging cultural activists to large scale commissions with a diverse mix of partners. The Co-commissions raise widespread awareness of existing creative talent across the region and support creative practitioners and organisations to make and present new work. We are committed to engaging our local communities to contribute to their creative identity and will give artists, organisations and creative practitioners opportunities and support to help them realise their creative ambitions. The Co-commissions create opportunities for creative innovation and new cultural production – we want to capture imagination and provide opportunities for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing. For more information visit www.creativeestuary.com.

 

About Milton Creek

Milton Creek Country Park is the attractive new ‘green heart’ in Sittingbourne that links the town centre to the creek. The natural habitats attract a variety of wildlife; three ponds have been especially created for Great Crested Newts, wildflower meadows have been planted to 

attract bees, butterflies and many other insects. The Forestry Commission provided funding to plant just under seven hectares of trees which in years to come will create pleasant areas of shade, and support many more birds and insects. Habitat creation has encouraged nightingales to the site. The Saxon Shore Way links Sittingbourne town centre to the country park. The path passes through a sequence of viewpoints, one at each of the historic wharves along the creek. Visitors can stop at the historic wharves and contemplate the history of the area. The remains of several barges can be seen in the creek, now an excellent habitat for wildlife but once they would have transported bricks, paper and London’s waste around the area. Artworks by Peter Liversidge in the reed-bed also remind people of the area’s past.

The 128 acre site offers a large natural play area, ‘Room’ a community events mobile art shipping container space, temporarily sited at the park, as well as an extensive network of paths through areas of different meadow, scrub and aquatic habitats that are home to many hundreds of animal species. 

The physical work of developing the Park began back in 2003 with the capping of the landfill site and the project is still in its infancy. The rich habitats need to be managed to maintain the diversity and value of this wonderful wildlife haven and to achieve this the park needs help from the public. A group of residents have come together to form the Friends of Milton Creek, a charitable organisation founded to help with funding for community events and volunteer conservation tasks within the park.
For more general information visit: https://miltoncreek.co.uk/ 

 

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