Shell-ter
Celebrating Southport’s Sculptural Heritage

Yorkshire-based public artist Kate Maddison of Chrysalis Arts will be inspiring the town of Southport this May as part of the largest ever sculpture project undertaken in Britain.

Over the next two years, Art UK is aiming to digitise around 160,000 sculptures, which are located inside galleries, museums and public buildings and outdoors in parks, streets and squares, across the length and breadth of the UK. Many of these are already viewable on the free-to-access artuk.org website for enjoyment, learning and research – the first database of its kind in the world. A key aim of the project is to engage new audiences with sculpture. Collections and artists across the UK will therefore join Art UK in delivering a series of projects and events which will celebrate local sculptural heritage under the banner ‘Sculpture Around You’ between now and May 2020.

As part of this national programme of events, Kate Maddison has developed shell-ter; a slow art sculpture and community project which will take place in Southport between the 1-4 May 2019. Working in collaboration with local partners The Atkinson, Southport Contemporary Arts (SCA) and Southport Eco Centre, a slow art ceramic shell sculpture will be created in the garden of the Eco Centre with contributions from SCA members, then celebrated during a family afternoon hosted by the Atkinson on Saturday 4 May.

The project revisits sculpture in Southport following the 10-year anniversary of one of the town’s notable works of public art. Kate is the public artist who previously led the Chrysalis Arts team to create the Nautilus sculpture during the award-winning refurbishment of Lord Street which was opened by Ken Dodd in October 2008.

To create shell-ter, Kate will partner with expert dry-stone waller Philip Dolphin to build a ceramic shell in the garden of Southport Eco Centre; with members of the local arts community then adding their own personalised ceramic pieces to the artwork. The shell sculpture will be 2 x 1.5 x 1.3 metres, made from ceramic glazed tiles and bricks donated by Chrysalis Arts, salvaged from Shaws of Darwen when they still made traditional architectural terracotta.

To celebrate the event, Southport Contemporary Arts will make a commemorative ceramic cap for the top of the sculpture to mark the ten-year anniversary of Nautilus and the Lord Street Improvements Award by Royal Town Planning Institute North West for Best Enhancement of the Public Realm 2009.

shell-ter connects with the Eco Centre’s mission to raise awareness of coastal sustainability and takes an environmentally responsible approach to creating artwork and exploring ideas with a slow art ethos. The sculpture will explore the themes of creation and destruction, growth and decay, material reuse, natural and human habitat. It will provide a habitat in the Eco Centre garden for small creatures like insects and lizards and in the longer term, the bricks and tiles can again be reused.

For more on the Sculpture Project head to artuk.org. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @artukdotorg – join the conversation using #ArtUKsculptureproject

The Art UK Sculpture Project has been made possible thanks to a generous grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Key Dates

  • Wednesday 1 May – Project team will arrive in Southport and begin preparations
  • Thursday 2 May – Build of shell-ter sculpture starts at Southport Eco Centre
  • Friday 3 May – Build of shell-ter sculpture completed at Southport Eco Centre
  • Saturday 4 May – In celebration of shell-ter and sculpture in Southport;
    • Free family arts session between 1-3pm at the Atkinson with artist Van Nong, who
      worked on Nautilus.
    • Drop-in creative workshop, no booking required.
    • Presentation by Kate Maddison of Chrysalis Arts and Laura Woodfield of Art UK
      starting at 1.30pm