The Story So far
The Newtonmore Art Project Team (representatives from Newtonmore Business Association, Newtonmore & Vicinity Community Council and Newtonmore Community Woodland Development Trust) are delighted to submit plans to obtain planning permission prior to commissioning Stuart Murdoch, Murdoch Sculpture of Ballindalloch to execute our ambitious plans to transform Newtonmore village square with an art installation which celebrates the local heritage, history, culture, sporting prowess, for cyclists, walkers and wheelers along, National Cycle Network Route 7 and at the terminus of the Speyside Way. These elements we celebrate are what binds the community together with recreational pursuits and tourism.
There is a community belief that the installation will be a focus to the centre of the village which demonstrates the many elements that form our welcoming neighbourhood. This will improve the vista of the Square for the community and visitors. For the active, Newtonmore are thrilled that the Artwork is the Terminus for the Speyside Way and will be a relaxing resting point for cyclists journeying along National Cycle Network Route 7 or walkers tackling the East Highland Way or the many trails and paths around the village.
The project to date is a result of a significant consultation with the village. This started with producing a detailed brief which Eight artists responded to. Four of which were chosen to produce detailed plans after a consultation in February that was attended by 100 members of the community. On 1 May the 4 Artists Design proposals were in a public exhibition in the village hall from 2-8pm. The Project Team (PT) were delighted that over 200 residents of the community viewed and voted and the results between the Vote score and the PT evaluation was overwhelmingly the STONE design by Stuart Murdoch, Murdoch Sculpture (www.sculpture.scot).
Murdoch Sculpture NAP Proposal
The materials used will be locally sourced stone, slate and timber which are suitable to long life outdoors.
1. Standing Stones – at the centre of the installation will be a series of monoliths, using local stone to depict the rocky landscape. These stones will be carved with images representing the sense of history, people, musical heritage, wildcats and/or local wildlife in a Celtic/Pictic fashion.
2. Water Feature – incorporated into the standing stones, with Highland Council consultation regarding water and power, the design will be a pleasing focal point symbolising the River Spey.
3. Caman Benches – flanking the water feature and stones will be a pair of crossed wooden benches in the shape of shinty sticks. These will be fairly sizeable and illustrate the importance the sport plays in the community.
4. Heart – the overall feature is designed heart shaped to represent that the village is nearby the geographical heart of Scotland.
5. Poetry Panels – behind the standing stones will be a series of natural-edged hardwood boards which will act as blank canvasses for lettering. Short poems/words will be in English and Gaelic arrangements are being involved to facilitate input from the local school.
6. The Speyside Way Extension – a sign featuring the terminus of the Speyside Way will be present for photo opportunities for walkers.
7. QR Codes/NFC tags – User-Interface using a scannable QR code or NFC chip to the installation which will link to the community website www.newtonmore.com www.speysideway.org/ www.sustrans.org.uk/scotland etc and social media platforms.
This will be minimal. The benches may require occasional reapplication of an oiling although the oak should be long-lasting, or the timber could age naturally. The only element which may require some minimal maintenance is the water feature although he has teamed up with a partner who specialises in installation of water features and can advise on the future upkeep.
He will engage with the youth of the village regarding the poetry panels and have further local consultation about certain aspects of the design elements to be carved on the stones.
Prior to commissioning Stuart Murdoch and seeking planning permission the PT sought funding and were delighted by mid-October to have potentially enough money to develop the project in full. Along with a previously gathered fund we gratefully thank the Highland Council Town Centre and Ward Discretionary Funds, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Isobel Parker Fund, Sustrans Scotland’s ArtRoots Fund, Newtonmore & Vicinity Community Council, The Badenoch Great Place Project and Cairngorms Trust.
Following an onsite meeting with our community chosen Artist, the NAP Team along with Cairngorm National Park Authority were proposing to relocate the Artwork to the right of the square (from the Main Street). This is due to the size and would allow it not to impinge on the pavement. Moreover, turning it slightly will maximise the way the light will strike it, making it more photogenic. Details of the pictorial elements were also considered. These plans were available for the public to view at the Wildcat Centre on Thursday 21st November and a positive response was received.
The Team are currently undertaking three significant key stages:
1. Due diligence on the funding awards to ensure detailed terms and conditions are associated with the grants are met
2. Working with the Artist to finalise design costs, artistic input and content, construction process and timetable
3. Obtaining Planning permission
Further consultation and community input is required for:
• Poetry and words that will form the content on the wooden boards working with the Primary School and community
• Style and symbols of the drawings that will be made on the stones
• Content of any interpretation panels such as Shinty in Newtonmore, Newtonmore History
The Project Team will maintain a communication process keeping the community informed of how the installation develops through newtonmore.com.
2020 Exciting Times for Newtonmore
Newtonmore Art Project Team
22 November 2019