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£5,000 for Story Chair public artwork for Hester's Way

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

HOW IT WILL LOOK:  Artist Natasha Houseago with a sketch of the proposed chair

HOW IT WILL LOOK: Artist Natasha Houseago with a sketch of the proposed chair

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PUBLIC art costing £5,000 could be coming to Hester's Way in the form of a Story Chair.

Cheltenham Borough Council's public art panel will decide this week whether to provide the money to fund an outdoor wooden sculpture in Hester's Way.

The carving will be a place for people to sit and listen to recordings of people talking about their experiences and memories of Hester's Way.

If the go-ahead is given, Cheltenham artist Natasha Houseago would create the sculpture.

She came up with the idea after speaking to local people to get their input.

And, once finished, the artwork is expected to be placed in the children's area of Hester's Way Library in Princess Elizabeth Way.

Dave Grange, from Cheltenham-based art group Creative Solutions, will be interviewing residents to provide the recordings, which will be played via headphones attached to the chair.

Natasha, 46, said: "It's a fantastic project and I'm very glad to be involved. I want the chair to be really big – six or seven feet high – and robust so it's throne like and children can run up and jump on it.

"Hopefully the children and local people's designs will drive the whole sculpture. We are asking people to write something down on pegs, which they can hammer into holes on the bottom of the carving. The pegs will have the effect of making the bottom of the chair a bit like braille."

She added that her voice would also be included in the recordings.

"The idea is that I will be carving the chair in the back garden of the library, and I will be recorded speaking to the children while I'm doing it," she said.

"Some of the recordings will be on the headphones when it's finished."

Natasha said she was hoping to use wood from a local tree to carve the chair.

Funding for the project would come from money given to the council through a section 106 agreement with the developers behind the Ash Tree Mews estate in Rowanfield Road.

If the sculpture is given the go ahead, consultation with the public will begin in February.

Natasha, who lives in Chapel Lane, off Bath Road, was recently in the public eye when she made a 10ft sculpture based on Edvard Munch's The Scream in reaction to a "garden grab" development she said blocked sunshine from her home.

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5 comments

  • m_o_d1  |  January 30 2013, 8:22AM

    Looking at the other "art" this "sculptor" has produced I wouldn't pay five pounds let alone £5000. Obviously the chair wouldn't last five minutes. How can the council say they are cash strapped and then even contemplate this nonsense. This artist keeps coming up with nonsense and expects the council "the public"to pay for it. Just because the money is from a section 106 agreement it doesn't mean it's fine to waste it. The rest of us have to pay council tax, maybe we should all come up with hair brained schemes to get some money back. In fact I wouldn't mind a holiday to the Maldives this year I'll have to get my thinking cap on and see what tat I can sell to Cheltenham, beats eBay I suppose.

  • Hubert1841  |  January 28 2013, 11:26AM

    It's a shame that a local artist can't be found, if this project gets the go-ahead. I mean no disrespect to Natasha of course, who I'm sure is a very talented artist and will do a sterling job, but I'm sure there are lots of budding artists in the Coronation Square area who'd love to attempt a challenge like this. What is the Cheltenham Borough Council's public art panel criteria for choosing the subject matter, location and the artist? Were local people consulted?

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  • Douglasknows  |  January 28 2013, 10:32AM

    If they do waste more of our money on this then it would serve them right if someone did damage it in protest.

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  • elgoog  |  January 28 2013, 9:22AM

    On saturday the echo reported..."CASH-STRAPPED Cheltenham Borough Council is preparing to cut back on some of its services in an effort to save more money. The authority has said its staff will no longer deal with areas it has no obligation to cover." So we'll have a story chair and spend a few bob on discussing why we failed to collect waste when we had snow so that we can offer the usual "lessons have been learnt" mantra. Time for the public to learn that this lot are well past their sell by date.

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  • raidermanuk  |  January 28 2013, 8:36AM

    "Money given to the council through a section 106 agreement " As always, easy come easy go with the council. It'll be covered in graffiti, have names caved on it and attacked with a saw for firewood within a week.

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