Artist raises concerns over water sculpture outside axed Darlington Arts Centre

The Northern Echo: The Threshold water sculpture pictured outside the former Darlington Arts Centre The Threshold water sculpture pictured outside the former Darlington Arts Centre

A LEADING artist has expressed concerns about the future of a landmark water sculpture she designed for a public arts centre following its closure.

Angela Conner, whose installations can be found in cities around the world, designed the Threshold sculpture for the entrance of Darlington Arts Centre in 2007, after winning an Arts Council competition.

Six months after the closure of the arts centre due to Darlington Borough Council budget cuts, Ms Conner contacted The Northern Echo to publicly call on the authority to secure the future of the 18ft sculpture.

The future of former arts centre building, which closed its doors to the public in July, is currently under discussion with developers - who have unveiled plans to create a hotel and restaurant with associated arts space at the site.

The Threshold sculpture was designed to welcome people to the entrance of the Vane Terrace building and is made up of 12 brushed stainless steel units.

The arms of the sculpture were originally designed to move, based on the changing weight of water in them, but Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended.

The London-based artist said: “I have no financial interest in the sculpture but I feel for the people of Darlington that I have to try to secure this work for the town and get it working as it was meant to.

“I hope that people don’t judge its future on its current state – the people who installed it took no notice of my plans and used a tiny pump and placed the water tank miles away from the sculpture itself.

“It never ever was the way it was designed to be. It would be lovely to get it working properly.

“I just want to know what on earth is going on and what the future holds for the Threshold.”

In response, a Darlington Borough Council spokeswoman said: “The future of the Arts Centre site, including Threshold, is subject to ongoing discussion and as such no decisions have been made."

Comments (10)

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5:24pm Thu 22 Nov 12

swissball says...

get it weighed in! DBC might get a few bob for it :)
get it weighed in! DBC might get a few bob for it :) swissball
  • Score: 1

8:08pm Thu 22 Nov 12

nickynoonoo says...

I'm sure Cleveland College of Art over in Middlesbrough would provide it with a good home.
I'm sure Cleveland College of Art over in Middlesbrough would provide it with a good home. nickynoonoo
  • Score: -2

10:41pm Thu 22 Nov 12

judygone says...

The arms of the sculpture were originally designed to move, based on the changing weight of water in them, but Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended.
I have see it working as intended on quite a few occasions.
The arms of the sculpture were originally designed to move, based on the changing weight of water in them, but Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended. I have see it working as intended on quite a few occasions. judygone
  • Score: 0

11:34pm Thu 22 Nov 12

loopeyloo75 says...

i am sure the council can move it to a suitable location. maybe whessoe road tip may be interested.
i am sure the council can move it to a suitable location. maybe whessoe road tip may be interested. loopeyloo75
  • Score: -3

11:38pm Thu 22 Nov 12

G Harris says...

Threshold has n't worked for the last couple of years, apparently the council would n't pay to replace a faulty part. What a waste of money. Shame, because it was lovely when it did work.
Threshold has n't worked for the last couple of years, apparently the council would n't pay to replace a faulty part. What a waste of money. Shame, because it was lovely when it did work. G Harris
  • Score: 1

7:41am Fri 23 Nov 12

Quaker Boy says...

Would this not make a great feature for this new development on the old bus station site? Apparently they are going to open up the river front and think this would look great around there and noticeable from the ring road.
Would this not make a great feature for this new development on the old bus station site? Apparently they are going to open up the river front and think this would look great around there and noticeable from the ring road. Quaker Boy
  • Score: 3

9:22am Fri 23 Nov 12

BMD says...

"Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended"

The Council listening to the designer, now you are expecting TOO MUCH!
"Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended" The Council listening to the designer, now you are expecting TOO MUCH! BMD
  • Score: 0

10:39am Fri 23 Nov 12

Spy Boy says...

judygone wrote:
The arms of the sculpture were originally designed to move, based on the changing weight of water in them, but Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended.
I have see it working as intended on quite a few occasions.
I'm afraid that it has never once worked as designed. I'm sure that Ms Connor must be quite annoyed when her design became a laughing stock because the installers failed to make it work correctly. It should never have been installed by people with no idea of what they were doing. It needed a processor based operating system to actuate the arms and the weight of water should never have been the sole method of operating. Rain water will have an effect here too. The basic design is OK and would have worked. They should have got an Engineer to build it rather than an engineer.
[quote][p][bold]judygone[/bold] wrote: The arms of the sculpture were originally designed to move, based on the changing weight of water in them, but Ms Conner claims the council ignored her installation instructions, meaning that it has never worked as intended. I have see it working as intended on quite a few occasions.[/p][/quote]I'm afraid that it has never once worked as designed. I'm sure that Ms Connor must be quite annoyed when her design became a laughing stock because the installers failed to make it work correctly. It should never have been installed by people with no idea of what they were doing. It needed a processor based operating system to actuate the arms and the weight of water should never have been the sole method of operating. Rain water will have an effect here too. The basic design is OK and would have worked. They should have got an Engineer to build it rather than an engineer. Spy Boy
  • Score: -2

12:57pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Spy Boy says...

By the way, there are a few spare arms sitting in a council shed somewhere, so the damaged arms could be replaced when Project Vane is finally started. We heard so much of this and you can visit the site to read all the wonderful Executive Speak sound bites about the project. 'Vibrant,' 'multi disciplinary,' 'global contemporary creative endeavour' and 'engagement activities' being but four of them.

What is it with this executive class ? Did they not learn plain English ? Executive schools that spawn these inept vermin at such an alarming rate seem to be teaching their own language.

Del Trotter used to think that being called a yuppie was a compliment. I'm sure these Executives feel the same way about their title. Do they actually know how we all laugh at them ? I would guess not.
By the way, there are a few spare arms sitting in a council shed somewhere, so the damaged arms could be replaced when Project Vane is finally started. We heard so much of this and you can visit the site to read all the wonderful Executive Speak sound bites about the project. 'Vibrant,' 'multi disciplinary,' 'global contemporary creative endeavour' and 'engagement activities' being but four of them. What is it with this executive class ? Did they not learn plain English ? Executive schools that spawn these inept vermin at such an alarming rate seem to be teaching their own language. Del Trotter used to think that being called a yuppie was a compliment. I'm sure these Executives feel the same way about their title. Do they actually know how we all laugh at them ? I would guess not. Spy Boy
  • Score: -1

1:00pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Spy Boy says...

"Once upon a time I cuddent efen spel xecutiv and now I are one."
"Once upon a time I cuddent efen spel xecutiv and now I are one." Spy Boy
  • Score: -1

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