The Great Promenade Show
Each year, the Blackpool Council commissions artwork from contemporary artists to line the New South Promenade from Squires Gate down to the Blackpool Sandcastle Waterpark. This year you can see a variety of large scale sculpture, some of which I’ve written about below, designed to reflect Blackpool’s history, lifestyle, and culture in an artistic way.
Inspire and challenge
Some exhibits come alive at night, and these three giant pebbles created by Peter Freeman, light up inside with hundreds of fibre optic lights inside, creating a sparkling, multi-coloured interior. Blackpool’s new Las Vegas style wedding chapel combines with the town’s yearly love affair with the Illumination light display in this sculpture.
This reminds me of sweetheart necklaces where one person wears half of the heart. This imposing sculpture makes the most of the sea views when you look through the ever so slightly unmatched hearts, no doubt meant to represent the confusion that comes with desire.
They Shoot Horses, Don’t they?:
Horace McCoy’s novel which inspires the title of this exhibit is an interesting choice for Blackpool’s promenade. The novel, written in the Great Depression, has the tone and style that rings true with today’s economically depressed generation. The exhibit itself, is a giant size circular mirrorball sculpture, to represent Blackpool’s relationship with ballroom dancing. Gloria, the character who is shot in the story, is so obsessed with winning a ballroom dancing competition, that she compromises all morality to achieve her goal, including convincing a good man to murder her, as if she were a lame horse.
High Tide Organ:
Imagery of the grand musical instrument being washed away in Blackpool’s unpredictable tides springs to mind with this exhibit. The creators, Liam Curtis and John Gooding have constructed an organ that makes music to the tune of the rushing sea at high tide. This combines Blackpool’s swinging tides with the town’s passion for musicals and music performance.
Life as a Circus:
A bronze sculpture of various circus performers reminds Sir Peter Blake of the Charlie Brown series special, Life is a Circus. In this episode, Snoopy runs away to be in the circus, much to the chagrin of his owner Charlie Brown. Blake’s apt sculpture describes the great adventures ordinary people can have if they visit Blackpool, which prides itself on being a world-class capital of carnival craft and circus performances.
These are just some of the enormous scale sculptural works of art on display along the beach-side for the Grand Promenade Show.