Fall in love with Barnsley this month
An explosion of colourful art installations coming to town
There are more reasons than ever to love Barnsley this February as the town gears up for a vibrant, art-infused celebration.
The Council’s Love Barnsley festival sees an exciting programme of free activities taking place throughout the town between 12-28 February, which ties in with Valentine’s Day and the month of love.
Internationally renowned artists will take up residence alongside a trail of impressive elephant sculptures, which have been inspired by best-selling Elmer author David McKee.
The centrepiece of the Love Barnsley celebrations will be an immersive sculptural work by acclaimed artist Liz West.
West’s mesmerising art was originally commissioned by Canary Wharf Group for Summer Lights 2021 and has previously exhibited worldwide by institutions and organisations including Natural History Museum, National Trust, the National Science and Media Museum and London Design Festival.
Her Hymn to the Big Wheel display, which will be situated in The Glass Works public square overlooking Eldon Street, sees an explosion of luminous colours and shapes come together in a dazzling immersive artwork. Spectators can wander through and experience first-hand – perfect for selfies or Instagram snaps.
The exciting art project has been funded by The Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone, a four-year partnership project between Barnsley Council and Historic England to revitalise the Eldon Street area, engage local communities and promote mental wellbeing.
Organisers hope the playful art installations will provide opportunities to enjoy new cultural attractions and will attract visitors of all ages to The Glass Works, the town’s new shopping and leisure destination. Footfall and spend is also expected to increase in the wider town centre.
Artist Liz West said: “It is a joy to encounter pure and vibrant colour in the middle of Winter, I feel it is a much-needed antidote to the darkness. It is always a pleasure to show my work in the town I grew up in. Each time it is like a homecoming.”
Cabinet Spokesperson Cllr Tim Cheetham, Regeneration and Place said: “We are sure the exciting art displays will spark plenty of conversations among those visiting Barnsley town centre this month. A lot has changed in Barnsley over the past few months and there’s never been a better time to visit. As well as a rich cultural offer, both in the town centre and in our museums and galleries, there are fantastic new shops, ten-pin bowling and great places to eat and drink. It’s a proper day out for all the family.”
In collaboration with The Civic, Barnsley, other artists will also see their work exhibited throughout the town centre during February.
Caroline Cardus tunes into the Valentine’s theme of love with three colourful, text based, signage-style installations. Caroline is famed for her ground-breaking disability art protest piece, The Way Ahead, which has toured throughout the UK for 17 years and is due to be placed in the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA).
While artist Ailish Treanor will be continuing her Paper Sculpture’ series during the Love Barnsley programme. The series, which is being scaled up and fabricated, is inspired by natural shapes borrowed from nature and the human body.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the minimalist abstract work of Egyptian born, Yorkshire based Sculptor, Sam Shendi, as well as Graham Ibberson, who crafted the new Reverence sculpture in The Glass Works Square, and a stunning new neon lightwork by Patrick Murphy and poet laureate Simon Armitage, located in a historic alleyway off Eldon Street.
Families and young visitors, in particular, will also have their very own herd of elephants to track down and marvel at from 18-28 February.
Barnsley’s Elephants Town Centre is inspired by the story of Elmer the patchwork elephant by David McKee.
Barnsley Museums have been working with artists and communities in each of the six principal towns to decorate a series of Elmer sculptures. Fresh from their displays in Penistone, Wombwell, Cudworth, Royston, Hoyland and Goldthorpe over the winter, the elephants will congregate in the town centre later this month creating a trail that encourages youngsters to get active.
Poet Ian McMillan’s emotive words, displayed in neon, will still be in the Lightbox. Reading ‘Barnsley’s fierce love holds you forever in its heart’ they form the perfect sentiment linking love, hope and positivity.
Love Barnsley is part of an exciting calendar of events planned to help attract even more visitors to Barnsley’s vibrant new town centre.
This includes the new Super Sundays which start on Sunday 13 February; running until the end of March and see a variety of local street theatre performers from across the region.
Entertainment is every Sunday from 11am-3pm and Super Sundays have been funded by the ERDF Welcome back Fund to help support post-COVID recovery.
Events delivered by Barnsley Council Arts and Events Team.