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Public art improves public spaces

By Andy Scott
River Spirit
Public art on Clackmannanshire roundabouts

A new roundabout created at the junction of two rural roads in Clackmannanshire, Scotland’s smallest county.  What is unusual is the centrepiece. A stunning metal latticework in the form of a lady holding a metal squiggle is called River Spirit. When erected, it was unclear who the Artist was and what the squiggle meant, after some research with its creator it is a map of the River Forth formed by metal rods. So this Lady facing North holding (river) Forth. The figurative Artist is a Glaswegian called Andy Scott.

Andy describes the piece as “a combination of practicalities and aesthetic” citing that its location required the sculpture be tall for sight-lines and prominence. He went on “I wanted to relate to landscape, environment…idea of being classical ‘terminus’ sculpture from formal gardens etc. half column, half figure”  Andy added that there is a ‘partner’ piece being installed at Muirside roundabout at the end of January.  This male form will also face North (to the Ochils) and be in a more dramatic pose. “He relates to earth and sky, she to earth and water”. I shall publish photographs when this is completed.

River Spirit
River Spirit holding the Forth

Yes but!

The usual counter argument to these sorts of public structures is that the money should be used for more ‘worthy’ items, like school books or more Nurses etc. There is never enough money for those things and there never will be. If I can draw a parallel with personal and public spending priorities first. Within homes, some decide to buy large plasma televisions even though the old device still functions (and uses less energy). Or choose to buy a new suite before the old one becomes un-useable. Most do this instead of paying off the Mortgage or hiring tutors to extend their Children’s education. Sure its complex, but part of the reasoning is that we understand how important it is to live in pleasant places. It is great to extend this sense of living in a good environment to the outdoors and our public spaces. I think we can have a higher bar for a nice environment than litter-free.

While photographing this new art installation I observed reactions, almost every driver looks at her as they travel by and  some smile. Andy – job done !


By Andy Scott



UPDATE NOVEMBER 2016: Tidy-up of language.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2018: Tidy language, Repair links and add Google map.