Friday, 5 April 2013

In The Archives: Livingston Town Artist

LDC board minutes record the appointment of a town artist for Livingston
If you have ever been to Livingston, or even live here, then you might have noticed here and there a concrete sheep, a giant foot, or various pieces of abstract art. Much of this artwork was done in the 1970s, by a man called Denis Barns.
“The role of the town artist is to see that many of the jarring edges of the town are smoothed and rounded so that the environment is as pleasing as possible to the mind’s eye” – Denis Barnes
In the 1960s the Livingston Development Corporation had invited young sculptors to submit ideas for ideas for a sculpture in Craigshill Mall. In the 1973 the Corporation worked with the then recently established Livingston Arts Guild to establish a strategy for “Beautifying the Town” a result of which Barnes was appointed in 1974 – unlike other new towns in Scotland which did not have one artist, but commissioned singular pieces of art. Barnes worked with the Corporation for five years creating his own work and commissioning others, until 1979, when he went on to setup his own environmental art consultancy, Town Art & Design. He aimed to integrate art into the local surroundings and many housing estates in Livingston have a piece of his work incorporated into their lay out. One major piece of work that Barnes worked on was the Livingston Trim Course – a circuit training course which incorporated various exercise stations that were also artistic in their execution!
Health and Safety probably wouldn't let you get away with a Trim Course these days....

The Corporation continued to support public art in Livingston after 1979. One of its last major artistic ventures was the commissioning of sculptures on major roundabouts in 1995. These sculptures include NORgate by David Wilson, an artist from Perth – this giant whalebone like structure is instantly recognizable if you enter Livingston by junction 3 from the M8.

Some other images of town in Livingston:

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