Thursday, 9 August 2012

PLACE Urban Design Summer School Day One | Public Art

The PLACE Urban Design Summer School is a week long event for 14 - 20 years olds to explore architecture, design, public art, sketching, photography, urban history and more! The week offers the 27 young people registered a chance to learn about the built environment through exciting workshops, fascinating tours and more!

The Summer School is a part of 'out of PLACE' in Ireland's tallest building, The Obel. With support from Karl Group and McConnell Property PLACE are occupying the ground floor with fantastic views over-looking the River Lagan until September. Out of PLACE will also host the 'Secret Laboratories' exhibition and the 'RSUA President's Medal: The Shortlist' exhibition.

Let's see what everyone got up to on day one with a particular focus on Public Art...

Day One | Public Art

Following an introduction from local Architect and PLACE Director, Aidan McGrath the summer school participants were challenged to an engineering dilemma! How to support a full can of coke on balloons...

Aidan McGrath welcomes the summer school participants.
Photo by Gary Potter.

Balloon Engineering! Photo by Gary Potter.

Will it work? Photo by Gary Potter.

In the end it was Team Barca that took the Balloon Engineering Trophy (well, four points on the Team Score Board!) followed by Team Gaudi, Team Contemplace Architecture and Team Phoenix.

To get the Public Art theme of day one underway University of Ulster lecturer Susanne Bosch provided the summer school with a brief overview of Public Art before guiding the participants around a number of Public Art installation in Belfast.

Sketching the sculptures at Dunbar Link. Photo by Gary Potter.

Sketching. Photo by Gary Potter.

Sketching at Saint Anne's Square with the MAC in background.
Photo by Gary Potter. 

Sketching at Cathedral Gardens. Photo by Gary Potter.

Viewing the excellent mural artwork on Hill Street. Photo by Gary Potter.

But not every Public Art piece received praise from the group as many were left unsure what some sculptures represented, they questioned their scale and location and queried their relevance to Belfast.

One participant asked "What is this?". This sculpture beside the Albert Clock was
Commissioned as part of the Custom House Square public realm works and funded
by Smirnoff. Photo by Gary Potter.

The Summer School gathers at Thanksgiving Square to debate the meaning, relevance,
location and scale of 'Nula with the Hula' as she has been labelled by locals.
Photo by Gary Potter.
But where do we draw the line between public art and graffiti? Is graffiti public art? Is it vandalism? Do we prefer sterile white walls or chaos? 

"Too Messy". Photo by Gary Potter.

"There's a place for it". Photo by Gary Potter.

"Meant to be Art?". Photo by Gary Potter.
Following lunch the Summer School got creative! Led by Artist Deirdre McKenna and in small groups the participants worked together to create the Urban Design Summer School Public Art Installation. The piece is on display in the Obel for the duration of 'out of PLACE' and we welcome anyone who wants to visit any Thursday, Friday or Saturday through August.

Creating Public Art at Donegall Quay with the Boat
in the background. Photo by Gary Potter.

Creating Public Art at Donegall Quay with the Custom House
in the background. Photo by Gary Potter.

Creating Public Art at Donegall Quay. Photo by Gary Potter.

The completed sculpture with all the Urban Design Summer
School participants at Donegall Quay. Photo by Gary Potter.

To complete the Public Art theme on Monday the Summer School welcomed Arts Officer Deirdre Robb to provide some insight into the work of the Arts Council NI. Some good conversation between Deirdre and the participants!

Deirdre Robb tells the Summer School about the work of the Arts Council NI.
Photo by Gary Potter.
Day one at the Urban Design Summer School got the week off to a fantastic start and all the participants thoroughly enjoyed exploring Belfast's Public Art!

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