“We aim to turn the St Austell area into a vast garden featuring stunning ceramic artwork. Alongside our local gardens and artists, we will transform the St Austell area through a programme of cultural initiatives. We have a vision to draw together the Great Gardens located near St Austell (Pinetum, Caerhays, Trewithen, Heligan and the Eden Project) with ceramic arts to create an urban parkscape across the town and beyond. From giant ceramic exhibits to wildflower corridors, and an annual programme of events and activities we have the opportunity to change the way in which St Austell is perceived locally, nationally and internationally. Using ceramics and horticulture to create public art installations will raise the quality of the built environment and public spaces across the area. China clay – the material that transformed St Austell’s fortunes will be used to create statues, carvings, engravings, paving designs, mosaics, street furniture that will sit next to planting schemes curated by some of the UK’s most popular gardens. Two annual festivals on these themes, The Garden Festival in June and Whitegold Festival in September, will provide an improved sense of place, and community pride, and will complement these permanent exhibitions. This vision for the area will enhance the landscape, transform spaces and stimulate economic growth by attracting new visitors, new investment and make the area an attractive place to live and work”.
The Austell Project is an invitation to discover St Austell and its hinterland afresh – to open your eyes to our history, to what shaped our landscape, economy and communities and what makes us so special today. It is a cultural programme to deliver sustainable economic growth, promoting pride in the local community, by attracting new visitors, new residents and new investment, making it a great place to live, work and play.
The Austell Project will deliver a series of high impact landscaping projects during 2020 as well as continue to develop on the masterplan working with third parties to make St Austell a beautiful and healthy place to be.
By bringing plants and the landscape to the fore we aim to engage with the public’s imagination asking them to reconsider the identity of the town, its location within Cornwall and the huge influence our gardens and landscape have had on the world.
From the Unesco World Heritage site status of Charlestown to the internationally famous Eden Project, St Austell already has much to shout about.
We are creating a Ceramic Art Programme for the town centre and the china clay area, as well as a partnership ‘clay exchange’ with the ‘Ceramic City’ Stoke-on-Trent. A diverse and exciting programme led by local, national and international artists, featuring ceramicists and other artists who create events, exhibitions and installations as well as permanent artwork in public spaces, linking closely with the garden projects.
We want to see creative, innovative and active public spaces that use art, craft and design to celebrate both the material of china clay and the culture of the clay country, enhancing its sense of place using clay and other media.
We have launched the Whitegold International Ceramics Prize. The first award made in 2019/20 honoured innovation in ceramic art. The successful artist will showcase their work at the Green Whitegold Festival and be offered a bursary to support their development in St Austell.
Including the great estates and gardens that surround the town, with experts from each on hand to answer questions from budding gardeners and deliver hints and tips on how to make your own garden great. Local schools will be invited to participate in gardening competitions. Music, fun and entertainment will be the order of the weekend.
An annual celebration to work with artists, makers and designers to celebrate past and present, and create future stories of china clay and the communities who live with it, inspiring people in and around the district to develop their creative potential and the area’s future sustainability.
The Green Whitegold Festival will reach right across the town centre, with performance and demonstration areas, clay and other craft artists from across Cornwall, and entertainment from street performers, jazz bands, dance groups, and brass bands from the clay villages amongst others, continuing the proud heritage of community music-making.
For full details about the project so far visit; www.austellproject.co.uk