In April, the Friends of Gedling Country Park won £18,425 of funding from Nottinghamshire County Council to create a permanent piece of art in the new memorial garden at Gedling Country Park. The group applied for money from the County Council which provides over £500,000 per year in funding awards to support projects that are beneficial to the local community.
Richard has been working as a professional artist for over 20 years and has work cited across the country and internationally. He was appointed by the charity group following a selection process where his designs were reviewed by the group, councillors and members of the public.
Richard has many years’ experience of working with the community to provide art that reflects the specific environment it will be in. A local artist, he was selected as his designs reflected the objectives of the memorial garden. He has also been able to engage local schools in the development process, including Lambley Primary and soon, Christ the King secondary.
The Friends and Gedling Borough Council have been developing the memorial garden within the country park for a number of months and have already installed several large metal ‘rings’ to mark the entrance, which were previously used underground to maintain the stability of the mining tunnels.
Gedling Colliery was the life-blood of the village and its surrounding areas for nearly a century, until it closed in 1991. The site stood derelict for over 20 years before being transformed into a country park in March 2015. The sculpture is expected to be installed by the end of November.
Terry Lock, Chair of the Friends group said “The memorial garden is an important project for us and our volunteers have been working hard to ensure it will be a place where all visitors feel welcome. Richard was selected as he created an inspired design which embraced the future of this great space. We’re also proud that Richard’s workshops with our local schools will influence the final project and leave a lasting legacy for these children and their families to proudly reflect on.”
Richard Janes, artist said “It’s great to win this commission, especially as it’s on my doorstep. There’s a crematorium within a mile of the park and I wanted my design to reflect that this space is for everyone. I’ve been working on designs that give a subtle nod to the mining history but without it being the main focus of my designs. If you look, you can see the references but it’s not the first thing you see. It’s going to be exciting developing these ideas with local schoolchildren.”
Nottinghamshire County Councillor John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Community and Place said “This is a great example of how County Council funding is being used to benefit the local community. The new memorial will really enhance this popular Country Park.”
Councillor Peter Barnes, Portfolio Holder for Environment said “Richard is a fantastic artist and we’re delighted that he will be working on this important piece of memorial art in the park. He’s a local lad and, importantly, he understands the importance of getting this right and for it to fit in with the environment of the park. The initial ideas that he shown to us look fantastic and we can’t wait to unveil the final piece soon.”