Third artist takes residence in The Observatory

Press Release: 11/06/2015


The third and final artist is now in residence at The Observatory, a distinctive combination of workspace, shelter, lookout and sculpture sitting alongside Winchester Science Centre at Morn Hill.

The Observatory has an idyllic setting looking over the South Downs National Park and has been home to a series of working artists over a six-month period from January this year.
Isabella Martin is a cross-disciplinary artist who explores how we develop and are formed by our perception of place. She has already become very attached to her unusual workspace, where she will be based until Monday 6 July when The Observatory moves to the sea-wall in Lymington.

Isabella invites people to come and see her at work. She has already led workshops with local schools and planned a number of lectures for the general public. But so keen is Isabella to spend time sharing with and learning from residents and visitors that she has now booked a market stall on Friday 19 June, when she will ‘bring The Observatory to town’ for those who have not yet made the journey out to Morn Hill.

She said:

It’s a really unique experience being based in these incredible studios, exploring my surroundings of the beautiful South Downs, and making artwork in response. In these last few weeks of the residency I'm looking forward to getting more people involved, learning more about the landscape and sharing the work that's coming out of my time here.

Isabella’s residency follows similar stints by artists Simon Ryder and Sean Harris, and offers the last chance for people to get involved in the Winchester leg of The Observatory before it heads off on a two-year tour of the South West.

Phil Smith from Space, Place-making and Urban Design (SPUD) said:

It has been both intriguing and exciting for us to see the very different but equally engaging responses to The Observatory and its location from the three artists. The Winchester Science Centre as the inaugural site has provided an excellent opportunity for SPUD and the artists to learn what the Observatory structures offer and how they can work for both artists and audiences. The Observatory has got off to a great start and this would not have been possible without the support of Winchester City Council and the fantastic team at the Science Centre.

Winchester City Council has supported The Observatory project since it was first proposed by the creative practice SPUD. It has gone on to attract significant funding from Arts Council England, and generous sponsorship from a range of private companies including James Latham.

Cllr James Byrnes, Portfolio Holder for the Local Economy, said:

The Observatory is a perfect example of the way that the cultural and economic life of Winchester are so interwoven. I hope to see more innovative projects like this in future, and am delighted that SPUD are already hard at work on proposals for a Cycle Café on The Viaduct Way, which is sure to be equally well-executed. These projects add variety and new experiences for local people and tourists alike, helping to make our District a more vibrant and interesting place.