The Parchment Street Kite Flyer

Parchment Street in Winchester has always had plenty of character. But as of next weekend it will be home to a new one: the Kite Flyer. The installation will take place on Sunday 5 April from 9am until about 2pm at the junction of Parchment Street and St George’s Street.

Created by sculptor Marzia Colonna, the Kite Flyer is a bronze figure of a young man joyfully flying a gilded kite while walking across a bridge which will span Parchment Street at a height of nearly 6 metres. The bridge, constructed by Denmead’s Metal Art Design foundry in the Winchester District, incorporates two more kites and playful ‘strings’ tangle themselves around the steel structure.

The Kite Flyer will be clearly visible to High Street shoppers, creating a popular new landmark for the city and drawing more people down the street.

The Kite Flyer commission is a response to Parchment Street businesses’ quest to attract more trade to explore and appreciate its enticing range of independent shops, restaurants and cafes - already a favourite with many local people.

Winchester City Council, with partnership funding from the Business Improvement District (BID), has managed the commission in collaboration with the Parchment Street traders and residents.  Marzia Colonna was selected following national advertising, and an exhibition of shortlisted artists’ work in the Parchment Street Business Centre.

Marzia, originally from Italy and now living in Dorset, is an Associate Member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. She said:

“How can we not love kites? To me flying a kite represents “time out”. It is a wonderful way to engage with nature while allowing the mind to wander freely; it is a personal experience but also a shared one as any onlooker can derive pleasure from it. Best of all, kite flying is an experience that is truly open to all: any age, any culture, anywhere. With the Kite Flyer of Parchment Street I have tried to say: look up, watch a kite fly, reconnect with the simpler side of life and the pleasure it brings.”

Lawson Bell, of Bell Fine Art in Parchment Street is delighted with the commission, and commented:

I’m eagerly looking forward to the Kite Flyer being installed. In conjunction with the smart new block paving on the pavement and road, we hope that it will draw locals and visitors to Winchester across St George’s street in ever increasing numbers to discover the wealth of independent shops on our street.”

 Marilyn Michalowicz, the City Council’s Arts Development Officer who co-ordinated the project, said:

 “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know so many people who live and work in the street; and it’s been a real treat to work with Marzia, with Brian from the foundry, and with Gordon Lockhart of Scott White and Hookins our structural engineer – what a great team they’ve been !  Everyone has been so positive and helpful. The Kite Flyer is an elegant and joyful character for the street which will bring lots of pleasure to residents, businesses and visitors to our city. It also adds to our fine collection of sculptures in the city which are based on the human figure, King Alfred, Elisabeth Frink’s Horse and Rider, and Antony Gormley’s ‘Sound II’ in the Cathedral crypt. I’m now working on plans for a Street Party and some family kite making workshops for June to celebrate the new arrival. Watch this space.”

Cllr George Beckett, who is Leader of the City Council with portfolio for the economy and tourism and Board Member of the Winchester BID, added:

“This Council is committed to supporting the economy, and retail is a key sector for the Winchester District.  We also know that Winchester’s attractive streets, which already boast many fine examples of public art, are an important element of a successful economy. This project has enabled us to reinforce Winchester’s reputation as a creative centre, whilst providing an innovative approach to improving business for the much-valued businesses of Parchment Street.”

The Kite Flyer is being installed while Parchment Street is closed to traffic for improvements to the highway and pavements. For safety reasons, from 9am on Sunday 5 April, pedestrians will be asked to use other routes while the installation is taking place.