A new community arts project to bring joy and creativity to the streets of Salisbury is being launched on Wednesday 25 November with an exhibition in the window of an empty City centre shop.
59 Catherine Street (the old lighting shop) will house a window display showing the potential of a new project that links in very strongly with current plans for regenerating the city centre with arts and cultural activities as well as shopping.
Hidden Figures is the brainchild of local artist Anthony Durman to bring 9 life-size figures of real-life Salisbury people to hidden corners of the City. The figures will be based on real individuals nominated by people and organisations locally. They will be created by scanning the person chosen with a handheld scanner and then using this data with a community-owned 3 D printer to generate a lifesize statue.
Deciding on who the statues will depict and finding the right settings for the figures – out of the way, unexpected and secure – are important parts of the project with which the community can get involved. When complete the figures will form a trail, complete with a phone app, that will encourage local residents and visitors alike to explore familiar and unfamiliar corners of the City. Plaques and information on the app will tell the back story of the person selected.
It all began with a local resident responding warmly to an existing sculpture by Anthony which is installed in a garden tucked away off Fisherton Street, often spotted and photographed by visitors on their way from the railway station into the city. From this grew the idea of peopling the city with a series of these figures.
The project is being kickstarted with grants from the Salisbury Community Area Board of Wiltshire Council, the Salisbury City Council and private donations, who together are funding the cost of the printer and materials for the very first figure.
Hidden Figures is being hosted by Safer and Supportive Salisbury, whose newly elected Chair Anne Trevett says: “ We see this as a way of bringing some fun and interest to the city at a very difficult time. Living through Novichok and now the pandemic has been a hard time but this project will allow Salisbury to celebrate local people who represent some of the best values of the City. And there are going to be lots of ways for people to get involved.”
Opportunities for volunteers to take part will include nominating the people to be depicted in the statues, helping with the printing and production, finding unexpected and out of the way places to locate the statues and helping to promote the project in all sorts of ways. Plus the all-important role of fundraising, of course.