Flower sculpture can 'foster creativity' – arts chief
The chair of Arts Council England Sir Nicholas Serota visited the town centre’s Camellia sculpture and headed to Grade I listed country house Wentworth Woodhouse for the launch of the Preservation Trust’s Cultural Strategy.
Sir Nicholas viewed contemporary steel sculpture Camellia, by internationally renowned artist James Capper, which was recently-erected near Rotherham Minster.
Commissioned by local arts organisation Gallery Town to celebrate Rotherham’s industrial engineering heritage, the artwork is over eight metres tall and features moving parts.
Sir Nick met four of the young apprentices who fabricated and constructed it who all work for Rotherham manufacturer MTL Advanced Ltd, which sponsored the project with £25,000 of labour, materials and resources.
Camellia, which will eventually stand at Forge Island, was inspired by the historic camellias at Wentworth Woodhouse’s Camellia House, some of which date back to the early 19th century and are among the oldest existing in the Western world.
The blooms have been nurtured through a £5m restoration of the Camellia House which is set to open next spring as a global tea house and events space.
Sir Nick also found out more about the mission to turn Wentworth Woodhouse into a creative, contemporary cultural hub for the north.
Plans include playing a key role in Rotherham’s Children’s Capital of Culture 2025 events, a project to turn the State Rooms into a major international gallery space, and developing interactive learning experiences.
ArtWorks South Yorkshire, which works with adults with learning difficulties, staged an art workshop and the event showcased films created by the Wentworth Woodhouse Trust’s digital volunteers and Barnsley ballet dancer Tala Lee Turton.
Sir Nick said: “The Camellia sculpture is an excellent example of how culture can foster creativity and collaboration across the community, as well as offering children and young people the opportunity to develop their artistic talents.
“It is an exciting time for Wentworth Woodhouse and for Rotherham.
“I look forward to seeing how the cultural strategy will support culture and creativity to continue to flourish across the town.”