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New sculpture celebrates West Cumbria’s industrial past, present and future

[O]n Saturday 22 July Florence Arts Centre in Egremont will officially unveil a new piece of public art in their wildlife garden: REGENERATION – a celebration of the area’s industrial past and a vision for the future.

FAC is based in the disused shower block at the Florence Iron Ore Mine on the outskirts of Egremont, an industrial heritage that is still present today. The site still has it’s imposing head-frame and the iron ore is still used to make artists’ materials today in the centre’s own paintmaking studio. This new sculpture, made of galvanised steel and industrial objects found around the mine site, represents how Florence Arts Centre is flourishing from the DNA of the Florence Iron Ore Mine. It is a work that represents West Cumbria’s industrial past and present and recognises the regeneration for the future. With a design by local artist and sculptor Val Holmes and constructive help from Gates & Railings Fabrications, everyone at FAC is thrilled to present this new monument: Regeneration.

The sculpture will sit at the entrance to the arts centre’s wildlife garden acting as a focal point for those coming and going from events. Fundraising is under way – if you would to donate towards the construction of this new sculpture please get in touch: [email protected] All donations are gratefully received.

Everyone is invited to celebrate this new artwork on the opening day – Saturday 22 July, 2pm to 4pm – with a garden party.

Artist Val Holmes said: “A walk around Florence Mine reveals the dereliction and rusting decay of structures, fixtures and fittings of a once very active working iron ore mine, the last in Europe. Out of this dereliction an energetic and enterprising group of people are developing the defunct empty building space, that once housed the miners’ facilities and equipment into the thriving Florence Arts Centre.”

“Workshops, galleries, studios, library, theatre and café, have been created to facilitate art courses, lectures, films, music, and crafts. Inks, oils and pastels are being created out of the refined local iron ore, gaining commercial recognition. A wildlife garden has been specially developed for the community.

“Near the entrance to the Arts Centre stand two monuments, their reason for being and what they commemorated have faded in time. Florence Arts Centre should have its own monumental identity. So, with a design by local artist and sculptor Val Holmes and constructive help from Gates & Railings Fabrications, we hope to install this new monument: Regeneration.”

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