The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today visited leading arts venue Watermans to officially switch on a new laser sculpture, which has been created as part of a series of wider improvements being made to Brentford town centre and surrounding areas, thanks to his Outer London Fund.
The new sculpture GEOMETRY has been created by French artist Félicie d'Estienne d'Orves for the International Festival of Digital Arts 2012, which is being hosted at Watermans. Throwing light into the night sky, the bold installation is a dramatic beacon for west London, adding to improvements being made in the area and cultural celebrations in the run up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'This bold ray of light will be seen for miles around, creating a dramatic beacon for Brentford. The new landmark heralds further improvements to this part of west London, making it an even better place to live, work and do business in, and adds to the area's cultural programme for 2012. I am in no doubt that the capital will emerge strongly from the economic downturn but we must keep investing in our high streets and town centres to address the historic neglect of these areas by others. Kick starting local growth is exactly what these funds are designed to do.'
The Mayor has awarded £1,275,000 from the Outer London Fund to the London Borough of Hounslow, for a range of public realm improvements in Brentford town centre and surrounding areas. This includes £265,500 in the first round of awards for a range of improvements, including lighting and shop fronts and enhancing the area in the run up to Christmas, as well as temporary public art at Watermans
In January, Hounslow was awarded a further £1,008,811, to enable a programme of public realm works aimed at the long term regeneration of Brentford town centre. This includes St George's Piazza, around Market Place and to enhance links with its waterside location. Other measures include better lighting in the area, Legible London signs, and cycling improvements, as well as cultural projects.
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, Leader LB Hounslow, said: 'Brentford has a rich artistic heritage, and we want to build on that creative past to help regenerate the town. This is an iconic sculpture that local people can be proud of. It will be seen for miles around, and help raise Brentford’s standing as a significant cultural destination, attracting more visitors to the town.'
Jan Lennox, Director Watermans, said: 'Watermans has played a key role in the cultural life of Brentford for over 25 years and we are delighted to have this opportunity to play such a pivotal role in creating something so iconic and so impactful that will act as a beacon for Brentford until the Olympic and Paralympic Games end in September this year.'
The Mayor launched the Outer London Fund in June 2011, a three-year initiative dedicated to strengthening the vibrancy and growth of high streets and surrounding areas. The fund is providing £50 million to support boroughs to improve the character, quality and economic vitality of selected high streets. Support has been allocated in two rounds; almost £10m to 20 boroughs across London in the first tranche, aimed at contributing to the vibrancy and self-confidence of high streets in the lead up to the Christmas trading season and beyond.
More than 80 bids came in for the second round, with nearly £32m of funding being awarded to 18 boroughs in January. This will provide access to funds, specialist advice and ongoing support over two years to increase the attractiveness and economic competitiveness of many London high streets.
Notes to editors
- The Outer London Fund is a three-year initiative focused on the regeneration of town centres and their high streets, backed by £50 million and the offer of specialist support. The Fund will nurture activities that range from modest awareness and enthusiasm-raising efforts, to more substantial built works and development-enabling projects.
- The objective of the Outer London Fund is to strengthen the vibrancy and growth of London’s town centres, their high streets and environs, because these are the parts of London where the public life and the everyday economy is focused; they are at the core of our designated town centres, with good public transport, and the high street activity that we all want to see flourish. These places can range from local parades of shops to the largest town centres.
- The initiative is coordinated on behalf of the Mayor by the Greater London Authority working closely with others in the London Development Agency, including Design for London, and with Transport for London.
- Over the last few years London has benefitted from many strategic investment decisions to improve the quality of life and economy of London. These have included over 50 projects being delivered as part of the London’s Great Outdoors programme, from improvements to neighbourhood parks, to reclaiming London’s waterways; plus major transport investments including the extension of the Docklands Light Railway, the expansion of the East London Overground Line, and of course all the benefits that will come from Crossrail and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- The Mayor was also set to meet the five young Londoners who successfully applied to become members of the Mayor's apprenticeship scheme Culture Squad 2012. The new programme involves them working with leading arts organisations over the next twelve months to help produce SHOWTIME, the forthcoming programme of free events commissioned by the Mayor as part of the London 2012 Festival.
- The Mayor of London in partnership with Arts Council England and leading arts organisations The Albany, Barbican, English National Ballet, Roundhouse and Watermans, has recruited five outstanding individuals, aged 19-24, who want to develop a career in producing outdoor events. The Culture Squad 2012 scheme aims to be a flagship for best practice with five full-time, paid apprenticeships which will give the successful applicants direct experience of producing SHOWTIME, the Mayor's outdoor arts festival for London during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- The Mayor of London is hosting a huge programme of free events and celebrations to add to the excitement of 2012, including ones especially commissioned for a citywide programme of free events that will add to and complement the London 2012 Festival. They include SECRETS, with artists and performers transforming hidden and lesser known locations; SHOWTIME, an outdoor arts festival in high streets, parks and open spaces around the capital; and LONDON LIVE, bringing live action from the Games, as well as sporting activities and entertainment to Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square. News and information about the programme will appear on the website www.molpresents.com. This will also feature events and happenings in the build up to A Summer Like No Other, including the St George's Day and St Patrick's Day celebrations, the Russian Maslenitsa festival and the Chinese New Year festivities. To be the first to know what's happening, sign up or follow us at www.molpresents.com / www.facebook.com/mayoroflondonpresents / @MoLpresents.