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Frome arts project aims for utopia

AN exciting arts project was launched in Frome on Saturday with the aim of making the town ‘that little bit more special’.

The idea behind the project – ‘Instructions for an Ordinary Utopia’ – is to get people to realise how special Frome is and to encourage them to explore the town and to make a small gesture towards creating Utopia.  It’s hoped that each small gesture will “spread like the ripples in a pool”.

The ongoing project is being run by Foreground, Frome’s innovative visual arts commissioners, who are known for arts projects that take place outside the normal gallery setting.

Their new project brings four leading British artists to make new works for Frome that explores how we can make ordinary life and the places we live in that little bit more special.

The works, by brothers Simon and Tom Bloor, Peter Liversidge and Ruth Proctor, have been developed through a dialogue between the artists and small groups of students from Frome Community College.

“The launch on Saturday 22nd March featured some really extraordinary happenings, being more about special events than standing around looking at paintings,” explained Tabitha Clayson from Foreground.

Peter Liversidge has created an amusing and eccentric book of ‘Proposals for Frome’– ideas for social events, architectural alterations, artworks and performances especially created for the town. The book is available to buy in independent shops all over Frome and some of the proposals will be realised over the course of the project until 4th May.

The first of these was realised at the launch when local people and children helped Peter to scatter 10,000 pennies onto the streets of Frome.We all know the old rhyme  ‘Find a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck. Give a penny to a friend, and then your luck will never end.’ Well, this was luck spreading on a grand scale and with tens of visitors to the launch spreading pennies on the streets (and picking them up of course!)

Ruth Proctor’s contribution to the project has been to write a new motto for Frome. Simple, hopeful and very Frome the new motto is “Something Wonderful Will Happen”. The motto is being promoted through the town like a political campaign: as button badges, banners, stickers and postcards but the 22nd saw its most spectacular incarnation when it was flown in the skies above the town for the launch behind a plane!

Simon and Tom Bloor have created two new temporary public sculptures that combine public seating, mazes, play structures and witty nods to graffiti to create new social spaces in underused parts of the town, including the riverside courtyard behind Ellenbray (yes there is one!) and the woods behind Frome Canoe Club where the river leads to Welshmill.

The Bloors’ installations will be on show until 4th May and more special events will be realised throughout the project including on Sunday 6th April and 4th May when events will take place at The Frome Independent, including Foreground realizing Peter Liversidge’s proposal to build an obstacle course in the middle of town!

Follow Foreground on Twitter @foregroundfrome or go to www.foregroundprojects.org.uk for more information.

 

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