Treasures Revealed in Winchester

Press Release: 27/07/2006

Winchester's rich collection of public art is being celebrated with a striking new publication called Eye-openers, launched by the Mayor of Winchester Councillor Sue Nelmes on Wednesday this week.

The booklet features art and artists from around the Winchester District, from the long established to the very new. Readers are encouraged to discover pieces in situ, from the recently bedecked bollards in The Square created by The Colour Factory co-operative to familiar favourites such as King Alfred's statue by Hamo Thornycroft in the Broadway and the Horse and Rider statue by Dame Elisabeth Frink in Upper High Street.

There are some hidden treasures in the surrounding towns and villages, too, including mosaics in Kings Worthy and sculpted benches in Whiteley. The booklet even carries brand new designs for a huge textile piece by Winchester artist Alice Kettle to be hung at the new Discovery Centre in Jewry Street when it opens next summer.

The free publication, produced by Winchester City Council's Cultural Services Division, also features public and commercial art galleries and crafts makers, and is packed with useful information about how to find artists and places of interest.

Arts Development Officer Marilyn Michalowicz said, "Eye-openers marks a step change for Winchester as a regional centre of excellence for creating, commissioning and exhibiting sculpture and public art. It is also a tribute to the many artists who have contributed their work over the years to enhance the street scenes and neighbourhoods which we can take so much for granted in a district like ours."

Winchester's tourism marketing service are hoping that Eye Openers will encourage new visitors to the district. Marketing Officer Valerie Greenwood said, "We know that the visual arts can provide a major incentive for tourist visits these days, particularly since the Tate Modern phenomenon. In Winchester we are well placed to appeal to art lovers, and can accommodate special interest groups with themed tours led by our highly professional tourist guides. Eye-openers itself encourages exploration of the district's public art and galleries with logical itineraries and colour-coded maps."

This new edition of Eye-openers (first published five years ago) has an engaging foreword by Winchester artist John Gillett, also Director of the Winchester Gallery, and a special section devoted to Winchester Cathedral's many artistic treasures, including Sound II by Antony Gormley, the artist who created the Angel of the North in Gateshead.
The cover image of the booklet features a beautiful photograph of Luminous Motion, the interactive fibre optic light sculpture by Peter Freeman which stands by the City Museum and has become a much loved landmark and constant source of pleasure for those wanting to change its colours by sending a text message.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, commented, "This is both a colourful and useful publication which I am sure will captivate those who read it. It is all too easy to become blind to the splendid sights on our doorstep, and I am quite sure that this booklet will help local residents to discover some hitherto hidden or unnoticed gems. I would like to thank the many people throughout the district who have contributed to making this very special booklet."

To receive a free copy contact Winchester Tourist Information Centre on 01962 840 500 or email tourism@winchester.gov.uk . If you would like to know more about the arts in the Winchester District you can also log on to www.winchester.gov.uk/arts  and for further information about visiting the area or specialist guided tours try the official tourism website on www.visitwinchester.co.uk