An innovative arts programme encouraging people to enjoy the superb outdoor spaces the city offers, has been installed at Norfolk Heritage Park, Sheffield.
Funded by Sheffield Housing Company (SHC) – which is Sheffield City Council’s joint venture development company with private sector partners Keepmoat Homes and Great Places Housing Group – the six sculptures are inspired by the shapes and structures of leaves.
Designed and sculpted by artist Howard Bowcott, 65 and from North Wales, it is hoped they will encourage the viewer to look at the details of nature all around them. They explore the relationship between the built form of the urban environment and the organic natural world.
With each sculpture weighing two tons, the artworks were installed using Hiab crane and will help transform green open space adjacent to SHC and Build to Rent provider Simple Life Homes’, Cutler’s View and East Hill Gardens housing developments in the Norfolk Park area.
Howard was one of a dozen artists who took part in a rigorous selection process, which included submissions of ideas/plans for the public art and a presentation to a panel, including representatives from SHC and Sheffield City Council.
He said: “The idea was to create artwork installations through the new housing that lead people towards the open spaces of the park, encouraging them to enjoy nature – something that has become increasingly important as more and more people recognise the emotional, mental and physical benefits of the great outdoors.”
Steve Birch, Project Director at SHC added: “This has been a great project to be a part of, which we are confident will further enhance the green space at Norfolk Heritage Park. Thanks to technology we were still able to engage with the local community about the sculptures during the pandemic when physical meetings were not permitted. After two years, seeing the sculptures in position is really rewarding.”
This year, the housing company expects to increase its portfolio to seven developments across the city, which combined, will deliver over 600 homes to three neighbourhoods in Sheffield – Manor, Norfolk Park and Parson Cross.
Richard Williams, Chair Community, Parks and Leisure Policy Committee with Sheffield City Council added: “The new artwork sculptures that Howard has designed and crafted are a wonderful feature and additional point of interest to the Norfolk Park neighbourhood. Positioned in and around Sheffield Housing Company’s successful new housing developments and leading to the brilliant Heritage Park, they help provide a sense of connection and celebration of how the urban and natural environment can come together.”
Looking ahead, SHC aims to complete up to 2,300 properties on 23 sites by the end of 2027 – delivering further economic stimulation, job creation and community investment for Sheffield.
The partnership’s entire development programme is currently benefitting from over £3m in funding from Homes England and £3m from South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.