LEEDS 2023 seeks artist or creative team to create landmark large-scale artwork for City Square

by Robbie

LEEDS 2023 has announced a once in a generation opportunity for an artist or creative team to design a striking large-scale temporary artwork at City Square, the major public space in the heart of Leeds city centre.

The commission is open to architects, engineers, visual artists, designers and creative organisations to conceive a new piece of public art that will transform this gateway public realm, showcasing Leeds to the world during its landmark year of culture in 2023.

The artwork will be a major part of a year-long takeover of City Square in 2023, also acting as a temporary pavilion or venue that will house cultural events and activities including live music, dance and creative workshops which will be programmed in conjunction with students at Leeds Beckett University.

Comments Kully Thiarai, Creative Director and CEO of LEEDS 2023: “This is an incredible opportunity for one artist, artist collective or creative organisation to conceive an innovative, ambitious work that is a feat of art, engineering and science. Leeds is a city that arose from the River Aire with a proud industrial and civil engineering past, therefore we want the artwork to respond to the city.

“For more than a century, City Square has acted as a grand entrance to Leeds for those who live, work and visit the city centre, and its location opposite Leeds station means it will be a welcome point for hundreds of thousands of visitors during 2023. We want to create a year-round experience for residents, passers-by and visitors, and this artwork will be both a setting and a stage for an incredible programme of cultural activity. We welcome applications from artists and creative teams around the world but particularly those with a connection to Leeds or the wider West Yorkshire Region.”

Two artists or creative teams will be selected to receive a seed commission to develop their ideas with a wider team of stakeholders, supported by LEEDS 2023. The two proposals will be passed through a feasibility study framework, before one is awarded the final commission in February 2022.

At the end of LEEDS 2023, City Square will embark on the next chapter of its story with the creation of ‘The Glade’, which was announced earlier this year. A team led by re-form Landscape Architecture in collaboration with Leeds City Council, renowned artist, Nayan Kulkarni and other stakeholders will begin the transformation of City Square into a new public realm space surrounded by layers of woodland planting that allows for the Forest of Loidis – the ancient forest on which the city was built – to re-emerge as a setting for city life.

The full brief for the LEEDS 2023 City Square commission can now be downloaded from www.leeds2023.co.uk. The deadline for submissions is 19th November 2021.

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