21st Century super Shrine gets green light for Weston’s High Street

Culture Weston is set to install a temporary art installation outside 30 High Street in Weston-super-Mare, an area known locally as Big Lamp Corner.

A timber external public arts shrine will be erected in the pedestrianised space, which will feature a small external performance area and sheltered seating.

The artwork has been designed and co-created by internationally acclaimed public realm artist Morag Myerscough. This is part of a pioneering heritage project called ‘21st Century super Shrines’ that aims to inject vibrancy and colour into Weston’s High Street and shine a spotlight on the local community. 

The installation will be the first in a series of innovative ‘shrines’ planned to appear on Weston’s High Street.  From art installations to live arts experiences, the aim is for the work to capture the vitality and values of the local community.

Features of the bandstand-shaped shrine design include:

  • An external and open space
  • A small performance ‘stage’ area which will be accessed by ramps on two sides with the remaining perimeter of the structure featuring a sheltered seating area
  • Made entirely from recycled and/or sustainably sourced timber approved by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council
  • Built offsite by a local artisan carpenter and master joiner
  • Painted facades and features in Morag Myerscough’s signature multi-coloured style 
  • A roof distinctively clad with individually painted shingles and signage carrying slogans of hope from local people
  • A coordinated, jigsaw of pattern and colour which will represent the combined vision of the artist and local community. 

During the 2021 consultation period, artist Morag Myerscough engaged with the local community in a series of public sessions from in-person word and pattern workshops to online discussion forums.

Through this activity, Morag captured local responses to help inform the design process. The result is a co-created artwork that reflects and builds upon the town’s identity, with leading themes emerging such as the importance of pets and animals.

Other activities have included the creation of a themed window installation with local artists Bev G Star and Kelly Lewis and the launch of a YouTube series of creative conversations called Chip Chat, both coordinated by visual artist and social maker, Megan Clark-Bagnall.  

Managed by Culture Weston in collaboration with North Somerset Council, 21st Century super Shrines was launched in May 2021.  It is part of a four-year High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) cultural programme, funded by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Fiona Matthews, creative director at Culture Weston, said: “We are very excited that our planning application has been approved. This marks a pivotal moment for the project and a step towards this super Shrine becoming a vibrant landmark for Weston.”

“At its heart, Morag Myerscough’s co-created shrine is a celebratory, public artwork that reflects the community’s values and shines out the pride that people feel in their town. As a meeting place with a seating area and informal performance space, it will provide an uplifting addition to the High Street.” 

Councillor Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Placemaking and Economy, said: “The 21st Century super Shrines cultural project will be a fantastic addition to Weston’s High Street.

“As we continue to focus on recovery, investing into the cultural sector not only supports local artists but also supports surrounding business who will benefit from increased footfall. People are looking towards Weston for cultural activity as never before.”

Full planning consent was granted by North Somerset Council to allow installation of the structure, which is planned to take place in the autumn. A community panel will be set-up by Culture Weston to support the development of multi-art events around the bandstand and the performance space.

(Images produced by Cuppa Architects)