Weston-super-Mare’s HSHAZ has been granted £119,690 for a three-year cultural project reaching out to the diverse communities within the town, as part of Weston’s Placemaking Strategy and in partnership with Culture Weston.
The cultural project, 21st Century super Shrines, is an exciting programme co-created by professional artists, in partnership with local emerging artists and communities, with a series of innovative contemporary ‘shrines’ which will appear on the high street. These shrines may be permanent installations or live arts experiences. Together, the shrines will create a sense of shared values, determining a new sense of ‘worth’ on the high street. The project is being steered by a consortium of 11 organisations led by Culture Weston
The first shrine will be a contemporary, performance-based bandstand in the town centre, co-created by internationally acclaimed artist Morag Myerscough, who will work alongside local artists to produce vibrant artwork, featuring her signature use of creative colour and pattern.
The bandstand will make its premiere as part of Weston’s Whirligig Festival in September. It will provide a space for both professional and emerging artists to showcase their work and become a performance platform for other cultural events within the town.
Another shrine will build on a recent Culture Weston project ‘Let’s Get Visible’ with Weston’s LGBTQ+ community.
Mark Canniford, Executive Member for Placemaking and Economy, at North Somerset Council, said: “Investing into Weston’s thriving cultural sector is a key part of helping the town recover and prosper from the pandemic and I’m delighted Historic England have awarded Weston this grant.”
John Crockford-Hawley, Heritage and Regeneration Champion, from North Somerset Council, said: “As one of the first Heritage Action Zones, we understand the central role that heritage and culture play in people’s lives and this grant will allow us to continue supporting artists and community organisations in Weston.”
Fiona Matthews, Creative Director at Culture Weston said: “The project aims to build local pride and renewed respect for the high street by enabling experiences and physical landmarks to emerge, that instil awe and a sense of belonging, creating a town centre that is both a home and a destination.”
Weston’s award is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said: “The High Streets Cultural Programme is an essential part of the way we are contributing to bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through conservation and building work, the community.