Students help shape ideas for Selby’s new public art installation

Selby College students have been participating in a workshop to inspire public art in the new Selby Station Gateway Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) project.

The project, funded by Selby District Council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and North Yorkshire County Council will help to transform the town centre with new public space and revamp of the existing park. Selby is one of three North Yorkshire towns to benefit from the scheme.

Notable artist Dr Katayoun Dowlatshahi has been commissioned to create new public art for the TCF project. Katayoun’s installations are already a familiar sight in towns and cities throughout the country, including Hull, Chester and Nantwich.

Selby will benefit from Katayoun’s skills, based on inspiration provided by Selby College students. At a session on Friday (January 14) the students learnt about the commissioning process and talked over their ideas for suitable artwork for the area around Selby station.

A display of the students’ coursework is currently in Selby Abbey.

Students also met Alan Micklethwaite, a specialist stone mason and sculptor who has carved some of the features which now adorn the Abbey.

Alan talked about the special features and hidden stories of the Abbey and explained details of some of the work needed to preserve it.

That includes recreating gargoyles, figurative sculptures, plant forms and architectural features.

As a finale to the afternoon, the students used clay to model the Abbey’s features which captivated them most. Katayoun now plans to take inspiration from the discussion to help her produce prototypes for the public art which is intended to adorn the area as its transformation is completed.

Cllr David Buckle, lead Executive member for Communities and Economic Development, said. “The Selby Station Gateway project will be a tremendous asset for Selby, making the town more welcoming, attractive and ensuring it will thrive in the years ahead.

“Public art is an important part of a place’s identity, and we are fortunate to have such a talented artist as Katayoun working with us.

“What is all the more exciting is that she wanted to engage with students - young people from the area - to learn what they regard as special.

“It means the next generation will have a real interest in some of the public art which will help make the Station area special. That can only be an asset to the project,” he said.