Henry Woodsford Weston Mercury May 19, 2021   

Weston’s Heritage Action Zone has been granted £119,690 for a three-year cultural project reaching out to the diverse communities within the town, as part of Weston’s Placemaking Strategy and in partnership with Culture Weston. 

Weston is one of 60 High Street Heritage Action Zones which have been awarded a grant by Historic England to deliver community-led cultural activities on their high streets over the next three years. 

Fiona Matthews, creative director at Culture Weston said: “The project aims to build local pride and renewed respect for the high street by enabling experiences and physical landmarks to emerge, that instil awe and a sense of belonging, creating a town centre that is both a home and a destination.” 

The cultural project, 21st Century Super Shrines, is a programme co-created by professional artists, in partnership with local emerging artists and communities, with a series of innovative contemporary ‘shrines’ which will appear on the high street.

These shrines may be permanent installations or live arts experiences. Together, the shrines will create a sense of shared values, determining a new sense of ‘worth’ on the high street.

The project is being steered by a consortium of 11 organisations led by Culture Weston  

The first shrine will be a contemporary, performance-based bandstand in the town centre, co-created by internationally-acclaimed artist, Morag Myerscough, who will work alongside local artists to produce vibrant artwork, featuring her signature use of creative colour and pattern. 

The bandstand will make its premiere as part of Weston’s Whirligig Festival in September. It will provide a space for both professional and emerging artists to showcase their work and become a performance platform for other cultural events within the town.  

Another shrine will build on a recent Culture Weston project Let’s Get Visible, with Weston’s LGBTQ+ community.  

Mark Canniford, executive member for placemaking and economy, at North Somerset Council, said: “Investing into Weston’s thriving cultural sector is a key part of helping the town recover and prosper from the pandemic and I’m delighted Historic England have awarded Weston this grant.”  

John Crockford-Hawley, the council’s heritage and regeneration champion, added: “As one of the first Heritage Action Zones, we understand the central role that heritage and culture play in people’s lives and this grant will allow us to continue supporting artists and community organisations in Weston.”