Canal artwork project gets underway

23 Jul 2007

A unique project to animate the Forth and Clyde Canal is set to get underway.

For West Dunbartonshire Council has commissioned artist, John Crosby of See Level Design, to design and deliver three permanent art installations along the Whitecrook/Linnvale section of the canal (to the east of Clydebank town centre).

The cost of the work is £50K and was secured by the council from the Scottish Executive Cities Growth Fund as part of a wider funding package for delivery during this financial year.

Provost Denis Agnew, explains: "The installations aim to animate the canal by increasing the physical attractiveness of the area and enhancing people's experience of using the recently upgraded towpath as a route to the town centre.

"It is also hoped that the artwork will promote a sense of feeling and pride among the local community and contribute to wider regeneration.  The artwork will be based on the themes of Clydebank's past, present and future."

The canal side locations chosen for the artwork are at:

Whitecrook Street, to the east of Argyll Road

This site, which is soon to be subject to environmental improvements (funded partly from the Cities Growth Fund and ERDF Urban II grant programme) is where the national cycle network joins the towpath.

The artwork for this location will take the form of a giant bicycle approximately four times the size of a standard bike.  It will be made of steel, galvanised and painted, and represents the present use of the towpath as a cycle route.  It will become an iconic gateway on the eastern approach to the town centre.

The open space to the east of the Lidl retail unit on the south side of Livingston Street

The artwork here will symbolise a massive piece of rope which once would have secured a ship to the quay, thereby, representing Clydebank's past.  Rather than being made of rope the seat will be of sandstone construction with the upper surface flattened and moulded for comfort.  The rope work seat will be approximately five to six metres long.

The Bascule Bridge which links the communities of Linnvale and Whitecrook

Approximately 500 laser cut images of fish are likely to be placed on the bridge surface representing flow across the bridge in both a north and south direction.

The fish, which will meet in the centre of the bridge, will be based on designs to be developed with local school children.  The theme represented here is the future- 'water flows forever/river of life'.  Other associated improvements will be undertaken to the bridge envelopes.

Commenting on the project, Artist, John Crosby, said: "I'd like to thank  West Dunbartonsire Council for selecting me for this commission. It is such a great opportunity as an artist to work in the public domain and promote the notion of art as a democratic institution rather than being the province of the art gallery going few. Public Art, like public space, is for everybody.

"The council has put a lot of effort into the regeneration of the canal in order to make it an accessible and enjoyable place to be;  the three installations that I have designed are part of that vision to make Clydebank a place with Public Art sites that is trying hard to find it's own future."

Richard Millar, Business Development Manager at British Waterways Scotland said: "This is a fantastic initiative which complements perfectly the canal based Arts Development plan which is currently being implemented across the Lowland network by British Waterways and The Waterways Trust Scotland.

"With millions of visits every year the canal towpaths provide the perfect exhibition space and I have no doubt these wonderful works will prove extremely popular with both the local community and visitors to the area."

The detailed design for the artwork installations are now being developed by artist John Crosby.  The artwork is to be installed on site by the end of January 2008.


Notes to Editors

A consultation meeting was held in February 2007 to give community representatives an opportunity to consider possible themes and materials for the artwork and the form which it could take.  Comments made were fed back to all artists who had expressed an interest in the project so as to guide and inspire their outline proposals.

See Level Design is based in Dumfries & Galloway.  It is a company of designer / artist / craft workers with wide experience in the production of handmade exterior and interior furniture, installations, and public contracts. Most production is in-house using timber and steel.

  • Canal artwork project by John Crosby, Sea Level Design