Sculpture trail at new development

Oxford Mail: Helen Jacobs on the site of the former St Mary's convent school Helen Jacobs on the site of the former St Mary's convent school

A new sculpture trail has brought history back to a modern 195-housing development in Wantage.

Five large sculptures and 12 small pieces will be officially unveiled at St Mary’s tomorrow.

The large artworks, by renowned sculptor Steve Geliot, were inspired by the history and architecture of the St Mary’s convent school which made way for the new homes in 2007.

And the smaller pieces, which were inspired by poems about the town by Ros Barber, have been cast in iron and bronze by artists Helen and Wez Jacobs.

Mrs Jacobs, from Stanford in the Vale, said the sculptures would attract the community to explore the development.

She added: “It’s all too easy to assume a new development is going to be the same as any other. But this sets it apart and shows people the value and history of the place.”

Artists throughout Wantage will be opening their homes and studios to the public tomorrow for free as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks, which runs until next Saturday.

St Mary’s is inviting visitors to come and enjoy the new installations with a special viewing at the site tomorrow between 2pm and 5pm, when artists will be on hand to show people around.

The sculptures were funded from contributions secured from developer Berkeley Homes by Vale of White Horse District Council.

Elaine Ware, Vale cabinet member for economy, leisure and property at the council, said: “This project is a great investment for the area and really helps to reflect the magic and history of Wantage.

“Public art enhances the district’s cultural heritage.”

For more information about the exhibits and the festival itself, visit artweeks.org

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