Motorists may have noticed new sculptures that have recently been placed on two of the roundabouts on the Selby Ring Road. Since one of these artworks strongly features the logo of Selby Civic Society, it might be thought that these are a new and expansive venture by the Civic Society. The full story is somewhat more detailed!
The "Boat Building" sculpture does indeed feature the Civic Society logo, harking back to the Selby Festival of 1969, and variants of which are used by many Selby-based organizations.
In early 2012, it was felt that something could be done to enhance the various 'entrances' to Selby to arouse curiosity in visiting the town to passing travellers, and a group containing various 'interested parties' - including, amongst others, the District Council, Civic Society, Groundwork, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Selby Business Forum, was formed, which also had the support of Selby MP, Nigel Adams.
The initial idea encompassed the station, river and canal as well as roundabouts on the ring road, and thought was given to using redundant artefacts from industries in the Selby area, such as a transformer from Drax Power Station, to create a 'heritage trail'.
Over the next eighteen months, under the aegis of Selby District Council, the idea was refined and focussed, gained the name the 'Selby Gateway' project and was put before the public via Community Engagement forums, stalls in the market and consultation events at the Civic Centre.
Eventually, under the leadership of Councillor John Mackman, it was decided initially to procure two artworks to be placed on two roundabouts on the ring road. Selby's 'three swans' icon was to feature strongly, along with representations of the stained glass of Selby Abbey, and a stylized shape of the formation of a ship's keel, to mark Selby's lengthy links with shipbuilding.
To acknowledge part-funding via environmental credits from Drax, the parts of the roundabout on which the sculptures are placed have been re-seeded with a wildflower mix.
The sculptures were formally 'unveiled' at a reception at the Civic Centre on Friday 5th. December where Selby District Council chairman, Councillor Cattanach cut a symbolic ribbon in front of models of the artworks, before the party took a minibus trip around the ring road to see the sculptures in place, illuminated for the first occasion. As the full moon rose on an icily clear night, the sculptures made a striking impression at the ring road junctions. It is intended that they will continue to be illuminated during the evening and night.
Eventually, there are plans to produce further 'installations' at other entrances to the town, but such progress may be some time in the future. In the meantime it is hoped that those travelling in the vicinity of the southern A19 and A63 junctions will appreciate these latest Selby artworks.
To see photos of the sculptures click this link
Selby Civic Society