Your chance to be part of the new St James’ Square artwork

3:26 pm, Thursday, 1st October 2020

GRIMSBY townsfolk are being invited to join a unique new arts project, which will form part of the transformation of St James’ Square whilst celebrating local people and their creativity.

As part of the project, more than 50 people were photographed at a ‘pop-up’ event held recently at Freeman Street Market.  With everyone COVID-safe, professional Grimsby artist Annabel McCourt was behind the lens as her subjects were encouraged to express their personalities. So delighted was Annabel with the response, that other pop-up events are now being held.

She is using the images to create different-sized copper figures, which will be recognisable as the photographed people. Together they will form part of her ‘Murmuration’ art piece to be displayed within the new-look Square – named after the phenomenon seen in our skies when starlings fly in swooping patterns.

“I have been overwhelmed, in fact at Freeman Street Market my camera shutter didn’t stop for four hours. We had couples embracing, children with their toys, families, mobility scooters and of course I couldn’t let the dog go by,” said Annabel.

The participants were equally as thrilled: “What I wonderful idea,” said one, and “This is a great project, I love the concept and how it could involve everyone,” said another.

Annabel, who is working under the wider ‘Grimsby Creates’ banner, explained how this piece of work was being designed to ‘capture a moment in time’ to tell the story of the real people of Grimsby.

“Some may ask, what is Grimsby like? I will say, this is what our town looks like and here are its people. The copper these figures are made of will age over time and look beautiful, changing with the different light,” said Annabel, who is organising future events at:

Freeman Street Market – 11am to 2pm:

  • Saturday October 3 – craft market;
  • Friday October 23.

Grimsby Top Town Market – 11am to 2pm:

  • Thursday October 22;
  • Saturday October 24;
  • Saturday November 7.

Annabel is one of two artists commissioned by Our Big Picture to work on the Our Haven arts project at St James’ Square, the other being Adrian Riley who is concentrating on using words and phrases to capture the essence of Grimsby. Both artists, along with Our Big Picture, are working as part of ‘Grimsby Creates’ – an umbrella brand for cultural activity over the next three years supported by the Cultural Development Fund.

The council’s Head of Regeneration, Cllr John Fenty said: “In transforming areas of Grimsby, we wanted to involve the people of our town, so they embrace what we are doing and can look at art and culture perhaps in a different way. It is fantastic that Annabel’s work is already seeing that happen.”

The overall transformation of St James’ Square, which lies within Grimsby’s Heritage Action Zone, (HAZ), is being managed by ENGIE on behalf of North East Lincolnshire Council and is going well.

The main works, including new paving, landscaping, lighting, seating and the creation of a good events space, are on schedule to complete on time early next year. The pedestrian walkway leading from the underpass to Wilko’s past St James’ Hotel, is due to re-open next Thursday – October 8. As reported, the Fishermen’s Memorial Statue will be returning as part of the overall re-design, positioned so people can easily be off the main walkways when attending events that it is central to.

The full project is being supported by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse. Further monies for the art project were won from the Cultural Development Fund, (CDF), which is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by Arts Council England to introduce creativity into the Square.

To get involved, go to www.ourbigpicture.co.uk/projects/our-haven/

You can also follow Our Haven on Facebook and Instagram.