Derby public art
Public art in Derby
Derby has a rich and impressive portfolio of public art that has evolved for many years and guided by Derby City Council. In the last 25 years, over 35 contemporary public art schemes have been implemented, generating over a million pounds of funding to date. Nearly all of this is through the support of private developers and different types of regenerative funding. This helps improves the identity of places especially when projects engage local communities from the outset. Whenever possible, funding is also invested in local artists, manufacturers and other businesses to promote this sense of ownership but also to support the city’s growing creative economy.
At the core of public art projects is the ‘Made in Derby’ ethic, conceived in 2017 by artist Timothy Clapcott for the ‘Derby Star Walk’ that runs through the city centre from the Derbion Centre at Albion Street to outside the Cathedral at Iron Gate. Star Walk is where Derby’s most notable figures past and present are immortalised in a series of approximately 20 cast iron plaques with a mosaic star at the centre with the name of each person.
Made in Derby is about what is made here, both in terms of world-class product, innovation and design, and the people who made it through collaborative effort and community spirit. We created the Derby Stars with ‘Made in Derby’ at the heart of the idea and this can be continued with all Derby’s future public art projects. Derby needs to showcase its DNA as a world class city
Tim Clapcott, Derby Stars' artist
Another public art scheme with the ‘Made in Derby’ ethic at its core is the ‘Creative Pathways’ initiative. This is where young people are involved in helping build 'Engineered Artworks' such as sculpture and street furniture for the public realm as part of their welding training at locally based company Engineered Learning. The artworks are located along Derby’s cycle networks and funded by Section 106 agreements sought by Derby City Council. The most notable artwork so far is the ‘Poppies’ sculpture at Chaddesden for the British Legion. The scheme enables young people to train, build and take pride in structures that are about their place but made by them. Creative Pathways is an ongoing initiative made possible by private sponsorship.
The benefits of public art
Public art is a ‘process’ of design and engagement as well as the creation of an artwork, and it is symbolic of a place and its people. The benefits can be seen through a diverse range of completed projects across Derby and see in the <trail map>.
- provides a positive and economically healthy image suitable for a city of innovation and creativity
- attracts people to live and work in the area and contributing to the local cultural offer
- ensures high quality robust design that significantly reduces maintenance
- spearheads local identity and the regeneration of local places
- supports local economies in the design and construction of the artwork
- provides a sense of ownership and local pride through creative engagement programmes helping to reduce vandalism
- inspires people when connected to local training programmes and live public art projects
- is an expression of culture and gives an insight into local history and people.
Public art projects
Derby has implemented public artworks over many years and these include historic monuments, memorials, architectural details and traditional sculpture. More recently public art in Derby takes a broader approach to incorporate heritage interpretation, lighting, contemporary sculpture, learning initiatives, digital sensory media and augmented reality. Furthermore, public art schemes co-ordinated by the Council aim to connect people to place and engage them in initiatives that support and inform artists designs and concepts.
Noteable artworks in Derby
- Made in Derby Fame Walk Stars by Derbyshire artist Tim Clapcott. The artwork includes augmented reality which you can experience by downloading the Made in Derby app for Apple or Android.
- Saint Alkmund’s Way Cycle and Footbridge by Derbyshire Artist Denis O’Connor Sculptureworks. The scheme was completed in 2008 and refreshed in 2016. Supported by Jurys Inn and Balfours Lighting.
- Corten Seeds and Pods by Derbyshire artist Rachel Carter. Rachel worked with Mickleover communities and schools in the design of the pods.
- iHub Twin Blade sculpture by Chris Brammall. Read the story of the innovation centre piece sculpture.
- Cascades by Bill Pye. Bill is a British artist of international repute with sculptures sited across the world the waterfall in Derby was installed 1995.
Explore the public artworks in and around Derby. We have over 60 artworks dotted around the region.
Map information - Mobile users can navigate within the Google Maps app (if installed), select the icon in the top right corner of the map to open. Numbered markers denote featured artworks
Funding public art
There are different ways of funding works of art in the public realm such as patronage, sponsorship and partnerships.
In cities around the world, private developers are realising that there is significant value in funding public art schemes for their developments and regeneration projects. These include:
- improving employee and tenant working environments
- creating a unique look or landmark feature for a project that gives a marketing edge
- demonstrating a wider civic commitment
- can increase value of accomodation and places and a more desirable office location.
Derby offers different ways to contribute to public art schemes such as planning agreements, regeneration projects, and partnered training programmes such as Engineered Learning where young people are involved in building public art structures.
Guidance for developers
A public art programme of commissioning and creative engagement can provide a focus for communities to shape their environment and steer good design for new developments. Derby City Council supports the integration of public art within developments as part of the Core Strategy Place Making Principles and also provides a Public Art Strategy that gives ideas as to how to take a public art scheme forward.
Where appropriate, Derby City Council will seek to enter into a legal agreement to secure the provision of public art from developers of major development proposals, either through onsite provision or financial contributions
Derby City Core Strategy
The key to successful public art is the involvement of an artist at the earliest possible stage in the design process. It is important to make proper provision for the public art component within the development costs and pre-application negotiations.
We can offer over 25 years' of experience in coordinating public art schemes and can provide service and advice from commission through implementation and launch.
- appropriate forms of art in different media
- artist sourcing and shortlisting
- administering the selection process
- project managing the commission
- acting as an agent for the client in communications with the artist and communities
- design and access statements, briefs and master plans and other strategic documents.
To contact us about planning agreements, email firstname.lastname@example.org.