On October 9th, St. Modwen, the master developer for the new Kingsgrove community in Wantage, held a family-friendly community day to mark the reveal of a new sculpture and artwork commissioned to celebrate the completion of Kingsgrove’s new public square and park.
In partnership with the Wantage Primary Academy PTA, St. Modwen invited residents, neighbours, councillors, and local groups to come together for an afternoon of fun, music and food to celebrate a huge milestone in the delivery of the 1500 home community in Wantage.
Starting at the Wantage Primary Academy, visitors could enter raffles, tombolas and get involved with fun-filled stalls, as well as view the new school’s grounds that welcomed its first students in September 2020.
From 2pm St. Modwen invited guests to head over to the Public Square, for music from the Wantage Silver Band, with food from local vendors Feast Queens, Surf’n’Fries and Rock Shack Road House. Also joined by Wantage Community Church who held activities for children, plus Sustainable Wantage who ran a stall selling plants and teaching the younger visitors how to make their own bee boxes which they could take home with them.
Kerry Lemon, the artist, then presented her artwork, standing beside the centre piece – a landmark freestanding sculpture situated in the public square that nods to the area’s heritage in the shape of King Alfred’s crown and celebrates the apple groves that used to sit on the site in Kings Alfred’s time. This is accompanied by an art trail for wayfinding around the public space, which aims to surprise and delight, with frottage pavers located at the three entrances to the park that celebrate King Alfred’s orchards.
The event was well received by around 300 residents and neighbours that attended, many of whom expressed delight to view the first phase of the neighbourhood centre brought forward, and could not wait to use it for future community gatherings such as this.
Kerry Lemon said: “It was a fabulous event and I’m really proud of the work. I was so excited to see the artwork being used as intended; with the children making frottage rubbings and running under the archway to discover the secret sculpture I’d hidden within it. I loved working on this project and am so pleased to see St. Modwen promoting and investing in public art as a tool to bringing communities together.”
Tim Jones, Senior Project Manager, said: “We were thrilled to be able to host a day for the community living within Kingsgrove and those from further afield. It was a great opportunity to meet, celebrate and enjoy the work that has gone into the development so far with our families. We also extend thanks to our contractor ACS, for getting the square ready in time for this event.”
Leah Perring, Head Teacher at Wantage Primary School, said of the visit: “It was a great day for our parents to see the grounds, since many of them had not been able to come within the school gates due to Covid-19 restrictions. It’s fantastic that we have the public square and playpark so close to our school for parents and children to gather and enjoy. We’re also thankful to Kerry Lemon for her work with our students throughout the commission process, and for teaching them about the history, environment and artistic opportunities within the place they learn.”
The public square and park are the first phases of the new neighbourhood centre being built in Kingsgrove, which will also feature a care home and a community building as well as local amenities such as a pub, medical centre and food retail.