A dazzling sculpture, costumed performers, and a surprise party for commuters will land in the Bearpit this summer.
The first three months of a new art programme created especially for central Bristol’s Bearpit roundabout promises free encounters with five unusual and surprising artworks, as well as pop-up performances and events.
Pavilion is a geometric structure designed with a dual purpose: as a visually-striking sculpture and a sheltered space for public events and happenings. Artist Philip Cheater was inspired by the hexagonal landscaping of the Bearpit before its recent makeover, and by the dazzle graphics of health and safety signage. Pavilion juxtaposes the patterns of warning with an invitation to enter and share the space with others: reflecting changing public attitudes towards the Bearpit itself.
The Keepers are watchful, costumed creatures who will move in and silently occupy the Bearpit. Known for her startling public-sited installations, artist Vickie Fear designs and creates hand-finished costumes for her sculpture-performers to wear. The Keepers will highlight the political potential of the Bearpit, a space for public unrest as well as festivity.
An Everyday Party will be a fun-filled gathering in the Bearpit, hosted by artist Megan Clark-Bagnall. With party bags, games and a mystery cake, the event will celebrate Bristolians and their daily commute through the Bearpit. An Everyday Party also draws attention to the Bearpit’s growing reputation as a destination, not just a thoroughfare.
The Cloud is a night of talking and dreaming, led by artist duo A-peg. With local residents and thinkers, the artists will start conversations around changing spaces, urban regeneration and transformation of the city. White pillows are handed out, and participants are invited to spend the night under the stars.
Subterranean will temporarily and subtly disrupt the Bearpit space. Artist Polly Kelsall will install an earthy reminder of what lies beneath the surface of the city, and what connects urban centres to their edgelands.
Art in Bearpit is part of series of recent initiatives and changes in Bristol’s iconic Bearpit sunken roundabout. Many of these are led by Bearpit Improvement Group, who aim to improve the neglected site and return it from a no-go area back to a thriving space to gather for events, art, eating and shopping. On 28 March, Spring in the Bearpit welcomed local musicians, delicious food stalls and hundreds of visitors.
For the current schedule of events, visit http://www.artinbearpit.com.
Sat 2 May, 2-4pm – Performance of The Keepers by Vickie Fear. Free, no booking required.
Sun 3 May, 12-2pm – Launch of Pavilion by Philip Cheater. Free, no booking required.
Mon 1 June, 4.30-6.30pm – An Everyday Party by Megan Clark-Bagnall. Free, no booking required.
Sat 13 June, 8pm-8am – A nighttime gathering for The Cloud by A-peg. Free, email [email protected] to book a place.
Sat 25 July, from 8am – Subterranean by Polly Kelsall. Free, no booking required.
More information: http://www.artinbearpit.com
About Art in Bearpit
For six months, Bristol’s iconic Bearpit will play host to a series of unusual interventions and encounters, interrupting the everyday life of the city. Art in Bearpit is a pilot programme of commissions and events developed for the Bearpit in central Bristol, taking place from May to October 2015. Initiated by Bearpit Improvement Group, Art in Bearpit is produced by Bristol visual arts producers Hand in Glove, and is supported by Arts Council England, Bristol City Council Creative Seed and Gane Trust.
About Hand in Glove
Hand in Glove is a Bristol-based collective of artists and curators who produce projects in a variety of contexts to showcase and support emerging artist practice. We collaborate with artists, working across a range of disciplines to develop and present artwork with a focus on process, dialogue and exchange.
About Bearpit Improvement Group
Bearpit Improvement Group (BIG) is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which was formed to implement ideas and prospects for the Bearpit. BIG consists of a team of volunteers who are united by the vision and objectives to change central Bristol’s Bearpit roundabout space from a feared space to one that is “welcoming, safe, diverse and inclusive”. The ethos of BIG is to deliver manageable, incremental change to the Bearpit, and promote it for the use and enjoyment of all residents and visitors of Bristol.