Birkenhead Park to “Aim Higher” with new statue
AN ABSTRACT sculpture which is intended to encourage youngsters to “Aim Higher” could be built at Wirral’s flagship park. The statue – which is called Aim Higher – would stand 12 ft tall and shows a woman raising a child into the air.
Plans for the piece of public art, outside the new pavilion, in Birkenhead Park, have been submitted to Wirral Council and were last night given support by the cabinet member for education, Cllr Phil Davies.
The sculpture consists of three parts, with the woman holding the child the main focal point, and alongside her a pushchair and a younger boy reaching up.
The sculptures will be made from steel plate and bolted onto a concrete base. Wood will be fixed to the steel at certain points to add detailing to the figures, such as highlighting the woman and child’s hair.
According to the planning application, the sculpture would be placed outside the pavilion building in the park, which itself has become a focal point for visitors.
Birkenhead Park was officially re-opened two years ago, after an £11.25m facelift.
It followed a five-year programme of improvements which saw the 226-acre park’s famous Swiss bridge, boathouse and grand entrance restored and renovated.
New bridges, paths, and railings, were built.
Birkenhead Park was originally opened in 1847 and inspired Victoria Park, in London, as well as Central Park, in New York.
It was transformed thanks to funding from a variety of sources including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Objective One, the Single Regeneration Budget, Wirral Council, and the Friends of Birkenhead Park.
Cllr Phil Davies said the sculpture, designed by Wirral artist Paul Bearman, had been inspired by the “Aim Higher” initiative to help young people who would not expect to enter higher education to get into university.
He said: “The commission had been for the artist to work with these kids to design the sculpture.
“It’s in for planning permission and hopefully will get approval.
“It’s a legacy for these young people to leave behind, a permanent symbol of what they have achieved.”
£100,000 grant takes gallery closer to new Mann Island exhibition space
THE Open Eye Gallery is a step closer to realising its planned move to Liverpool’s waterfront, after receiving a £100,000 National Lottery and Arts Council award.
The internationally renowned photography gallery needs to raise around £600,000 to finance the creation of a new exhibition space, at Mann Island.
Director Patrick Henry described the grant as a “huge step in the right direction”. He said: “This takes us a step closer to our new home at the heart of the Liverpool waterfront.
“A larger, more flexible space – twice the size of our current premises – will help us to build up our artistic and engagement programmes, reach more people and raise our ambition all-round.”
The North West’s only gallery to focus exclusively on photography, Open Eye was established in 1977.
The organisation is currently awaiting the result of a grant application to the Northwest Development Agency, which it is hoped will provide a substantial portion of the remaining cost of the move from its current premises on Wood Street, Liverpool.
Sarah Fisher, the Arts Council’s head of visual art, said: “Liverpool has an exceptional offer for those interested in exhibitions, with Open Eye providing an insightful photography programme.
“The Gallery's move to Mann Island will mean it finally has the exhibition space to match international ambitions.”
The Arts Council has also awarded £5,000 to Wirral-based artist Jane Poulton to create a large-scale artwork inside Liverpool Cathedral. THE DAILY POST