BLOG – Very Public Art – a jolt “out of the everyday”

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Culture Liverpool’s Head of Creative, Robin Kemp, talks about the city’s latest cultural campaign Very Public Art, which is all about injecting some colour and vitality into the city after the dark days of lockdown and living through a pandemic.

If you cast your mind back to January, things were pretty bleak. 

We were in lockdown. It was cold. It was grey. Everything felt empty. 

It was in that winter of pretty severe discontent that we came up with the idea for a project which would later be called ‘Very Public Art’. 

In conversations with artists and friends in the city it was clear everyone felt scared the greyness surrounding us was seeping into our streets and our souls. 

We were at risk of our collective ennui making us boring. 

We needed to inject some life and some colour back into the city and we wanted to make sure that no one could forget Liverpool as a playground for artists to experiment, to take risks and to express themselves. 

We have launched Very Public Art, our summer of installations and artworks which are all free, open air, safe and in the streets. 

You may have already seen some of the works from one of the commissions – Statues Redressed – already popping up around the city. Iconic statues being given a new look by artists in a unique way of rethinking their role in society today. 

Throughout the summer, fun, thought provoking and occasionally absurd things will appear across the city. 

These installations aren’t meant to replace the giant set piece outdoor events that this city loves and which we love to stage (we will have to wait a bit longer for those to return.) But the aim is for them to jolt us out of the everyday. To make us think differently about the places and sites which we have all spent a very long time treading through over the past 18 months. 

And as the title suggests, Very Public Art is about you. It is about taking the time to explore something new. About seeing something you might love or something you might hate. Something that inspires a stirring in your soul that you haven’t felt for months. Or possibly just a shrug of indifference. 

Whatever these works do, we hope they offer another window towards a return of normality. A return to a time when in Liverpool the abnormal and the exhilarating feel like the everyday. 

Liverpool Waterfront