On Thursday, March 27, the sculpture – which has been created by local artist David Mayne – will celebrate the “Greener Living Spaces” work delivered through a partnership between environmental charity Groundwork and Marks & Spencer.
In 2008, M&S introduced a 5p food carrier bag charge which raised £5.2 million in its first three years for Groundwork’s Greener Living Spaces programme, which supports people around the country to create and improve green spaces for local communities.
Over the three years of the scheme, the programme helped transform over 100 parks, play areas and public gardens across the country, including the £200K Greener Living Space project in 2009 to improve Victoria Gardens in Leeds City Centre.
To mark the close of the Greener Living Spaces programme in 2011 and celebrate its success, Groundwork and M&S commissioned a piece of public art at The M&S Company Archive on the Western Campus of the University of Leeds.
The 350cm high landmark sculpture has been created using sustainable materials including woven stainless steel wire and rod. It includes 104 discs in the shape of a 5 pence piece – one for each completed Greener Living Space.
David Mayne, a Leeds born artist with more than 20 years’ experience creating projects in the public realm across Yorkshire and the UK, was commissioned to create the sculpture.
David specialises in public engagement and has created a number of iconic landmark sculptures throughout the country, including the Steel Bear at the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield.
“I’m really thrilled at having the opportunity to create a piece of public art for the city I was born and brought up in.
“The woven stainless steel mesh hopefully connects with the textile origins of M&S while the coins on the base refer to the carrier bag scheme that made so many incredible environmental improvement projects possible.”
Mike Barry, director of Plan A at M&S, said:
“Groundwork has played an important part in helping us to achieve our Plan A commitments and we are thrilled to celebrate the successes of our Greener Living Spaces programme with such a wonderful piece of public art.
“It was only fitting that the sculpture is based at the M&S Company Archive in Leeds, with the city being such a significant location for M&S, with our first Penny Bazaar stall opening in Leeds’ Kirkgate Market 130 years ago.
“The sculpture will be the embodiment of the work we have done throughout our partnership with Groundwork and I will be proud to unveil it to the public.”
“The Greener Living Spaces programme illustrates what can be achieved when businesses and charities work with the public to create better places for everyone to enjoy.
“This inspiring piece of art celebrates the achievements of over 10,000 people across the UK who have come together to make a difference in their communities.”