21st Century super Shrines shines a spotlight on Weston community

21st Century super Shrines is an exciting programme managed by Culture Weston as part of the four-year long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, funded by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This pioneering heritage project, launched in May 2021, is designed to inject vibrancy and colour into Weston’s high street and shine a spotlight on the local community in a number of creative events, including a new window exhibition and YouTube series.

Throughout the project, a series of innovative contemporary ‘shrines’ will appear on the high street from permanent art installations to live arts experiences that capture the vitality and values of the local community.

The first shrine will be a 21st Century super Bandstand for the high street’s Big Lamp Corner area, being created by internationally acclaimed public realm artist Morag Myerscough in partnership with the local community. Creatively steering the project is lead artist Megan Clark-Bagnall in partnership with guest artists, emerging artists and Weston residents and a consortium of 11 organisations led by Culture Weston.

As part of the creative collaboration at the centre of the campaign, a vibrant window display is being showcased at Front Room, home to Culture Weston, situated opposite the former food court area in the Sovereign Centre.

The exhibition shows the development of the artworks at the centre of ‘21st Century super Shrines’, showcasing the heritage project’s creative activities and engagement work with the local community, including online and in person workshops covering topics from patterns to pets.

The display has been created by community artists Bev G Star, Humans of Weston, and Kelly Lewis who is a creative crafter based in Worle and includes the latest project information, artwork and workshop opportunities.

Fiona Matthews, creative director at Culture Weston said: “Since the project was launched, we have been working with a team of brilliant local artists to document the process and share local people’s knowledge, ideas and values about Weston as the experience unfolds – the role of pets and animals on the high street (past and present) is proving a particularly winning topic!”

Alongside the exhibition, Culture Weston’s first YouTube series ‘CHIP CHAT’ has been launched. Professional artists, emerging artists and wider residents of Weston are invited to meet up over chips to chat culture and heritage putting local voices at the heart of cultural and creative developments in the town.

The starter episode, available to view at cultureweston.org.uk, saw artist Morag Myerscough in conversation about ‘Community & Colour’ with interviewer and self- appointed chip advisor, Megan Clark-Bagnall over a plate of chips at Winston’s Fish Bar. Megan also chatted to Alex the fish fryer and Weston-based artist Shruti from Mantra Murals, ensuring that local voices are front and centre of this creative initiative.

Talking about her distinct style of work and signature use of bright colour and pattern, Morag Mysercough said: “Colour has always been in my world and a joyful thing that made me happy. I think a lot of people can be scared of colour so one of the biggest things for me as an artist is to involve people in the work you do so that they understand it and can see the process of how colour can affect you.”

Megan Clark-Bagnall, added: “When you put colour into a community setting, it is uplifting and puts a spring in your step. The 21st Century super Shrines bandstand promises to put the spotlight on Big Lamp Corner presenting in Morag’s words a ‘new now’ iconic landmark that will transform the landscape of the high street.”

Latest updates on 21st Century super Shrines and Chip Chat will be announced at cultureweston.org.uk and across Culture Weston’s social media platforms.