Our public art should be world class

REGARDING the response to my letter on public art by Adrian Perry.

First and foremost my criticism is not of the Civic Society which does a splendid job in promoting the town’s heritage, my criticism is of the sculpture itself. I do not have a problem with the idea of the work just the execution of the work.

Mr Perry is absolutely right in suggesting that sculpture in the region is creating a buzz and with the recent opening of the Barbara Hepworth Museum in Wakefield we have world class sculpture on our doorstep.

However, Mr Perry is missing the point. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth Museum is world class, the work by Craig Knowles is not. If the town is to invest public money either through subscription, the private sector or from the council in public art it has to be world class, otherwise we are setting ourselves up for a public fall. I know money is being raised for further sculptures and that Scarborough intends to promote itself as a sculpture town. There are great artistic, commercial and cultural benefits to this idea, however if what we see and end up with is second rate in terms of the concept and the execution we will be stuck with sculptures that attract visitors for all the wrong reasons. My salvo into this debate is encourage a critical dialogue on the idea of what is good art and to make sure that the lasting legacy of public art is the influence it has on the minds of young artists emerging from within our schools and universities who do not have to travel to Wakefield to see world class art but can see it here in Sculpture Town.

Kane Cunningham

Princess Royal Terrace

Scarborough