People in Chester are being asked if they have seen any of the new creative works yet. They are popping up all over the town, and have already started to be a true talking point. Some people wonder whether a new Chester-born Banksy artist has popped up, but this is actually organized art, rather than political graffiti. Organized by the University of Chester, car parks all over the city center are being “art attacked”. Chester Council and Cheshire West have allowed the University of Chester to do something different. According to Art Fund, the project has been designed to use visual stimuli in an effort to make Chester city center more interesting to the general public.
No matter how much urban architects try, car parks tend to be bland, boring places. However, the new art attack movement is set to change this, by offering visual stimuli that have also been designed to get people talking. At the minute, the works around found on Trinity Street and Market Street car parks, and it is not yet known whether this will expand. To demonstrate how the art is designed not just to be beautiful, but to make people think and talk at the same time, one of the first that was erected was that of a homeless man on the street. This is representative of the fact that homeless people in Chester are known to stay in car parks overnight, where they are better able to keep warm.
Not every piece is socially controversial in nature, however. One of the other pieces is a beautiful shiny chandelier, made up of baubles. Another is a construction of different car parts, which includes wheel hubs and wing mirrors. Some say that this is as a representation of the pollution that vehicle cause, and the need for more recycling. The artists who have made the pieces have not spoken out about their reasoning behind their individual pieces, however, hoping instead that people simply talk about what is there and come up with their own ideas.
Many different hidden pieces of art are there for the discovery, and some people have set themselves the challenge of trying to find them all. For instance, a number of pillars have been decorated with beautiful stencils, using gold and red colors. If the Northgate Development is approved in the future, then the Trinity Street and Market Street car parks will be fully demolished, meaning the end of the art as well. However, if, and when, the development goes ahead, it will also include an 800 vehicle-capacity car park. Whether it will continue to include the works of art is not yet clear, nor is it known whether approval has been given for art attacks in other parts of the country.
A representative from Art Fund says: “We love what is happening in Chester’s car parks. People have come together to create something beautiful out of something drab. It is putting Chester back on the map, and it is making people talk, which is what art is all about. While people continue to use their mobile phones – to take pictures or to Google what is going on – they mainly stand and speak to each other, and to others, to tell them about what is happening.”
“This really is a wonderful initiative, and one that we fully support. We hope it will not just keep going, but that other cities in the country take note and do something similar. Art is something to be shared, to be viewed, to be talked about.”