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Poets and locations announced for new project in Gloucester

The city of Gloucester will become the backdrop for poetry of epic proportions from Monday, August 24, as a major new artwork from international artist Luke Jerram opens.

The event will showcase poems, words and lyrics by local residents across more than 30 different locations.

After a major callout for poetry in July, Luke Jerram's 'Of Earth and Sky' team has selected the work of 30 poets from different communities across the city and beyond, to feature in large-scale installations throughout Gloucester.

Forming a new sculpture trail of ideas, thoughts and feelings 'writ large' across the city, people will be able to discover and interact with the poetry from August 24 to November 1.

The poets selected include members of the Gloucester Poetry Society, poets supported by arts organisation Strike a Light and members of the public.

They range from children as young as ten to retired people. Some were inspired by their experiences during the Covid pandemic and others by their love of the city, nature and the wider area.

Curated by international artist Luke Jerram and Gloucester-born spoken-word artist and poet JPDL, the large-scale letters and stenciled artworks will enable people to discover the hidden places of Gloucester and contemplate nature and the city's built heritage as they interact with the artworks.

The blend of landscape and words and connection with the poetry and stories of local people will form a trail of discovery enabling visitors to see the city and its public spaces in a new way. One poem outlines the emotion and frustration of family life in lockdown, whilst in another a mother celebrates time spent with her autistic son.

In five locations, the poetry will take the form of 1.2m high stand-up wooden letters and in 26 other locations, the poetry will be stenciled either on the grass or on hard surfaces that form part of the urban built environment. These letters will also be large-scale with letter heights of 0.5m and 1m depending on their location.

In some locations a single line has been taken from a longer poem which will be available to read in full on the project website once the exhibition opens. The website also has a map of all the poetry locations (also listed below). The artworks will all be totally accessible, and the sites have been selected to ensure social distancing is possible at all times.

The project has been commissioned by Gloucester Culture Trust and Gloucester Cathedral. As well as showcasing poetry from local writers, Of Earth & Sky will celebrate Gloucester's outdoor spaces, which many people report appreciating more now than ever before as a result of the covid-10 pandemic and lockdown. The installation will encourage people to actively engage with the words of Gloucester citizens and to look differently at the city, which has a growing reputation for arts and culture.

Artist and curator Luke Jerram said: "This project is about connecting the people and communities of Gloucestershire - and after what we have all been through this year, there has never been a better time to do so.

"It is hugely exciting to see the powerful poetry of the people of Gloucestershire take shape in the city and its landscape. But it's only now as it opens, when people can really engage and interact with the installations, that the work will truly come alive."

Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon at Gloucester Cathedral in Autumn 2019, which received huge acclaim, attracted many people to visit, and played a key role in the gear-change of Gloucester's cultural landscape.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester added: "Gloucester Cathedral is proud to be supporting this exciting artwork that celebrates the wonderful people and communities of our city and county. As we saw with Luke's Museum of the Moon last year, world class visual art can have a powerful and lasting impact, and now is most certainly a good time to be celebrating our communities and connections."

Cllr. Steve Morgan, cabinet member for Culture and Leisure at Gloucester City Council commented: "As we begin to cautiously emerge from lockdown, there is more appreciation for local parks and green space for our wellbeing, mental and physical health.

"This installation celebrates the city's outdoor spaces and encourages people to look at Gloucester differently - to see the beauty in its heritage, its green spaces and to see their voices written large in the landscape."

The confirmed locations and associated poets for the stand-up letters are:

1 Gloucester Docks, Orchard Square - OF EARTH AND SKY (Wordsworth)

2. Gloucester Cathedral - Anonymous

3. Robinswood Hill - Rachael Kelly

4. Gloucester Docks, The Sabrina - Sajida Kathrada

5. Location still to be confirmed - Gemma Bilton

Stencilled poetry on grass or hard surfaces will be in the following locations:

6. St James City Farm - Anonymous

7. Guildhall - Kate Townshend

8. Llanthony Road, Gloucester Quay - Josephine Lay

9. The Venture White City - Chloe Green

10. College Green - Anonymous

11. St Oswald's Priory - Ruth Truscott

12. Boating Lake - Kathryn Alderman

13. Sebert St Park - Sarah Griffiths

14. Plock Court - Nadine Holland

15. Elmbridge Park - Carol Wood

16. Armscroft Park - Darryl John

17. Coney Hill Park - Luciano D'Amato

18. Llanthony Secunda Priory - Halima Malek

19. Greyfriars - Pauline Roberts

20. Gloucester Park - Rizpah Amadasun

21. King George V Playing Field - Ellumination

22. Clock Tower Park (Abbeymead) - Jess Goode

23. Parry Field Play Area (Tredworth) - Linden Dennis

24. Scott Avenue Play Area (Podsmead) - Laura Sumner

25. Tuffley Park - Gill Stevens

26. Play Park (Hempsted) - Laura Clarke

27. Barnwood Park - Oscar Wenman-Hy

28. Kingsway Manor Farm Park - Judy Parsons

29. Saintbridge Balancing Pond - Viola Bradshaw

30.  Hillfield Gardens - Jean Young of FUSION - Hardwicke Church Youth Group

31. Matson Shops - Carol Sheppard

Of Earth And Sky is commissioned by Gloucester Culture Trust and Gloucester City Council in partnership with Gloucester Cathedral and Strike A Light, in association with Gloucester Quays with additional support from We Can Move, Arts Council England, The Great Places Scheme (Heritage Lottery Fund), Barnwood Trust, In-Situ European Platform for Artistic Creation in Public Space and Thirty Percy.

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