A new exhibition at Dundee University will showcase the remarkable history of public artworks in the city.
Art for all: The Pioneering Story of Public Art in Dundee, will explore some of the 500 sculptures, murals, paintings and other pieces which scatter the city.
The exhibition showcases photographs of artworks past and present as well as unique behind-the-scenes material such as models, design sketches and installation images.
Matthew Jarron, the university’s curator of museum services, said: “So often with these things the finished piece of artwork appears and people don’t get to see the whole journey that work has taken to get to the finished product.”
Since 2018, the Dundee University Museum Services has been leading a major project to research, catalogue and promote the city’s street art.
One key project the exhibition focuses on is the history of the Blackness Public Art Programme, which was launched 1981.
A total of 16 projects were completed during the three-year programme, including Stanley Bonnar’s Ghost Dog and Shadow Trees at the Brown Street Kennels and Keith Donnelly’s Saltire Award-winning ceramic panels on Bellfield Street.
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Matthew said: “Before the Blackness Programme there were only a few pieces of public art in Dundee, with the most notable examples being Victorian sculptures.
“The three-year programme was part of a wider scheme to improve the Blackness area and became the catalyst for the cultural change that is still ongoing in Dundee today.”
The Blackness Public Art Programme was seen as radical as it was the first time that artists worked in collaboration with businesses, developers, council planners and architects to bring the area to life.
Matthew said: “It’s the first time art was used as an economic tool to regenerate a city.”
The success of that programme led to the Dundee Public Art Programme, which was the first city-wide programme of its kind in the country.
Matthew said: “The city-wide programme lasted for 20 years and was the largest one in Scotland for the whole time it was running.”
In addition to looking at the history of art in the city, the exhibition will also look at present art projects. The university has worked with several local groups to create the exhibition.
One example is a Menzieshill photography group which has been taking images of the city’s artworks that will be featured when the exhibition opens on August 3.
The work on display at the university isn’t the only activity involved in the exhibition.
There will also be a series of tours, talks and workshops for people to get involved in.
Tours of public art will take place regularly throughout the exhibition’s run, with different tours across the city.
The exhibition closes on the October 26, where a whole day of talks featuring artists and researchers is planned for those who want to learn even more about Dundee’s public art.
The exhibition can be viewed at the Lamb Gallery, Tower Building at the University of Dundee weekdays 9.30am-7pm and Saturdays from 1-5pm.