Sculpture in the City

Having these works dotted around the Square Mile is enormously positive for the people who work or live here. Everyone, regardless of whether or not they are modern art lovers, appreciates being in a changing environment. The sculptures make us look and think differently about the everyday world around us, which is very stimulating. Also being exposed to art is proven to improve our sense of wellbeing and creativity. So hopefully we will feel, as well as work better.

Robert Read, Hiscox Head of Art and Private Clients, 2016

Sculpture in the City delivers an annual urban sculpture park and an associated education programme. This innovative cultural programme is delivered by the City of London in partnership with local businesses combining both corporate and public values and priorities. The project is located in the insurance district of the Square Mile, surrounded by the iconic towers which define the area and inform the high quality nature of the project and associated programmes. The historic churches nestled amongst them also inform the sensitivity and contextual awareness required to deliver a sophisticated programme which reflects this complex and exciting part of London.

Lacuna was first commissioned by the City of London Planning department in November 2010 following consultation with local businesses in the Eastern City Cluster. The key message during this consultation was that local stakeholders were keen to see contemporary sculpture brought into the area to humanize and enliven this area of high architectural quality. The brief was to install one piece of contemporary sculpture in the centre of the tall buildings cluster around Great St Helen’s and deliver a series of community events with a limited budget.

“Stella has a unique aptitude to bring together a variety of businesses and sectors together for a common goal, such as the arts and culture initiatives Brookfield support as a result of her tenacity and foresight. Her capacity to create something special in an ordinary, everyday environment is spectacular and her ability to stretch the funds at her disposal is almost astonishing. The City of London and all those who and live and work in it have much to thank Stella for. “

Carlin Fier, Brookfield Office Properties

Already in its first year Sculpture in the City far exceeded the original brief installing, instead of one, four major artworks: Sky Mirror by Anish Kapoor, Garden Pouf by Franz West (which had never been seen in public before), Three Men Walking by Julian Opie and Screen with Folded Arms by Kenneth Armitage. These works were on loan from the artists and galleries for a 6-12 month period with the project funding covering the costs of delivering and maintaining the artwork on site plus a community weekend delivered by the Big Draw as part of the City of London Festival entitled Take a Closer Look. Crucial to this early success was securing partnerships with three of the local businesses Hiscox, British Land and Aviva.

The success of the project in the first year informed the level of ambition moving forward. The project continued its growth and success in 2012 both in the number of artworks installed in the area; 7 artworks including works by Tracey Emin, Yayoi Kusama and a brand new work made specifically for the site chosen by Dan Graham and with another 2 local businesses joining the group of Partners.

As an artist, I enjoyed the process of placing the sculpture on that site with its relationship with the building and nature. I think Sculpture in the City is special that it helps the public deal with art in the built environment .  It is a great opportunity and challenge for the artist and as your programme changes with every year it helps to create new debates. Many people do not visit galleries or museums but everyone passes through the City. The encounter with the works of art becomes part of their journey and I hope the public appreciate it and that they pause to wonder for a moment in passing…

Shirazeh Houshiary, Artist

Artists shown to date: Anish Kapoor, Julian Opie, Kenneth Armitage, Franz West (2011); Tracey Emin, Michael Craig-Martin, Angus Fairhurst, Julian Opie, Dan Graham, Thomas Houseago, Yayoi Kusama (2012); Jake & Dinos Chapman, Robert Indiana, Ryan Gander, Jim Lambie, Shirazeh Housiary, Richard Wentworth, Antony Gormley (2013); Lynn Chadwick, Jim Lambie, Julian Wild, Paul Hosking, Richard Wentworth, Joao Onofre, Ben Long, Nigel Hall, Cerith Wyn-Evans (2014); Kris Martin, Laura Ford, Adam Chodzko, Folkert de Jong, Xavier Vielhan, Sigalit Landau, Ekkehard Altenburger, Tomoaki Suzuki, Keita Miyazaki, Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst, Bruce Beasley, Shan Hur (2015); Gavin Turk, William Kentridge & Gerhard Marx, Lizi Sanchez, Ugo Rondinone, Recycle Group, Jurgen Partenheimer, Huma Bhabha, Anthony Caro, Michael Lyons, Benedetto Pietromarchi, Enrico David, Mat Collishaw, Jaume Plensa, Giuseppe Penone, Petroc Sesti, Sarah Lucas, Shan Hur (2016).

In 2016, Sculpture in the City was delivered by the City of London in partnership with: 22 Bishopsgate, 30 St Mary Axe, Aon, Aviva, British Land, Brookfield, Hiscox, TH Real Estate, Tower 42, Willis Watson Towers and WRBC Development.

Working with Stella Ioannou is a delight. She has done amazing things with Sculpture in the City; organising and placing a large variety of important sculptures around the City of London, each year. The sculpture Aurora by Anthony Caro was positioned outside Willis Tower Watson and the Lloyds Building. We lent it to her and it looks tremendous there. Her work has benefited both Art and the City.
Paul Caro, Barford Sculptures

The artworks are now secured through an open call managed by Lacuna and shortlisted by the Arts Advisory Board of Robert Hiscox (Chairman of Hiscox), Whitney Hintz (Curator Hiscox), Iwona Blazwick (Director Whitechapel Gallery), Jane Allison (Head of Galleries Barbican Art Centre), Wendy Fisher (Arts Patron), Stephen Feeke (Director NewArtCentre Roche Court). The Arts Advisory Board which Lacuna present the submitted artworks to was established in 2015 to ensure the artworks selected to be included in the project were of high artistic and curatorial value. In addition Lacuna presents the shortlisted artworks to the City Arts Initiative, which reviews all public art projects proposed to the City of London.

Stella’s approach to delivering the most challenging cultural and art related events and exhibitions has enabled the realisation of truly significant contributions to life in London. The ability to read the client’s needs and to support them in their role, makes all the difference in delivering challenging programmes. Stella is to be particularly commended for her attention to detail and impressive curatorial and coordinating skills across a range of partners and stakeholders.

Victor Callister, Deputy Director of Architecture & Built Environment, Design Council

Sculpture in the City – Education Programme

From the inception of the project it was very important that we were engaging with the local community by delivering a series of community events which encouraged young people and families to engage with the project and by extension the City of London. The highly ambitious educational and community programme has developed over the years and has been delivered in partnership with Open City since 2012.

In 2016 the programme worked with 9 schools (220 students) each benefiting from 4 workshops each focusing on architectural design, viewing and drawing. In addition the programme hosted a community event during the Archikids Festival in July and a community event during Open House.

This extensive educational programme is a significant element of the overall programme benefiting students aged 10-14 years old from neighbouring borough schools. These schools have students from under-represented communities, many of whom have never visited the City before and/or are unlikely to consider the city, art or the built environment as career and cultural pathway options. Through the series of four workshops, the students therefore discover new places in the city, and learn about the value of public art.

I have had the pleasure of working with Stella for over a decade and more recently with Open City delivering the education programme for Sculpture in the City. Stella has a thorough understanding of the City; what it represents and what it requires and has worked hard to dispel the myth of the ‘Fortress City’. She understands the importance of engaging the local workers but also children from schools in the nearby boroughs who are provided real opportunities to be inspired and aspire to extend their boundaries. The education programme makes sure children do not think that the City is only for City businesses but that they are welcome and perhaps one day they could also work there.

Victoria Thornton, Open City