Wivelsfield Railway Station Bridge
Vibrant community-inspired artworks to prepare for growth
Client: Mid Sussex District Council
In partnership with: West Sussex County Council and Burgess Hill Town Council
Artists: Maria Amidu and Lionel Stanhope
FrancisKnight have been appointed by Mid Sussex District Council to work on Wivelsfield Railway Station Bridge Public Art Commission/Lighting Scheme.
FrancisKnight undertook a feasibility report for the commission that put forward recommendations for public art, updating and improving lighting and cleaning and repainting existing areas.
This commission forms part of a shared ambition by Mid Sussex District Council, West Sussex County Council and Burgess Hill Town Council to improve Wivelsfield Station Bridge as part of a package of improvements within the Burgess Hill 'Place and Connectivity Programme'. As one of two stations that serve Burgess Hill, Wivelsfield Station will benefit from much needed investment in its public realm. Situated in a local neighbourhood known as Worlds End, the station’s role as a transport hub is predicted to significantly grow to support planned development and as part of a substantially improved travel network for the town.The partners recognise that public art is an important component in helping to create a better-quality environment to enrich people’s lives.
As part of the public art commissioning process, two artists Maria Amidu and Lionel Stanhope were appointed to collaborate on a series of artworks that were painted onto the four abutments at Wivelsfield Station Bridge.
Maria Amidu is a UK based visual artist developing national and international site-specific projects in museums, archives and the public realm. Her artistic concerns are influenced by the scope and significance of common experiences. She is interested in the relationships between people and place and what is hidden, obscured or unspoken in various social situations.
Throughout the Covid19 Lockdown, Maria developed ideas for the painted artworks with the input from locally based The World's End Association and pupils from the Manor Field Primary School.Developing ideas for the commission with the input of school children and residents has been a delight; because of the lockdown I invited them to take me on a virtual tour and introduce me to the places they love. The things I have learnt from afar have been really interesting, and the fact Wivelsfield Station is actually in Worlds End, causing visitors a great deal of confusion over the years is the catalyst for ideas developed for the commission, along with suggestions for a Worlds End motto.
Lionel Stanhope, is a trained sign writer, scenic and street artist. Over the past 7 years Lionel has worked with Network Rail to brighen up over 50 bridges with high quality murals across London, Sussex and Kent. He is best known for his signs, which combine his love of typography and street art and he frequently works with local people as part of the design process.
The resulting artworks express the thoughts of the community with motto’s ‘our friendly community” and “because neighbourhood counts. The designs feature the childrens own work, focusing on the colour and the style of their mark making – pencil, felt tips, paint with a composite of letters from their designs. Renowned cricketer Maurice Tate also features, as members of the Residents’ Association had wanted to honour him in a tangible way in the area for some time. A 2D rendering of a blue plaque was created.