“local people will have an opportunity to vote for a new centrepiece for Arthur Square”

The Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie has announced a £16million programme to “transform 14 of Belfast’s main streets and public spaces.” It seems to actually be the implementation of a 2006 Departmental Action Plan. And included in that bill will be £500,000 to be used in commissioning a number of new public artworks.. worryingly, the public will be able to vote on one of those artworks *shakes head*According to the statement the public vote will be for the artwork destined for Arthur Square

“Belfast already has some good examples of public art such as the sculpture at Thanksgiving Square at Laganside,” she said.

“To complement our new streets, I intend to invest £500,000 in commissioning a number of new artworks.

“Later this year, local people will have an opportunity to vote for a new centrepiece for Arthur Square, one of the main public spaces in Belfast.”

There are also plenty of bad examples..

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  • DK

    What about a seat for that bloke who stands there shouting about repentance most afternoons?

  • kensei

    What about a 150ft statue of a Saint. With lazers for eyes 😉

    Actually, scratch the Saint. Make it Darth Vader.

  • susan

    Let’s hear it for the Salmon of Knowledge!

    A few prototypes to get you started:


  • “What about a seat for that bloke who stands there shouting about repentance most afternoons”?

    If thats the guy at Cornmarket, I couldnt agree more! The other day I walked past him and he was getting stick from one of The English Workmen who is working on the big Victoria Square Project. The workman was saying that this guy was ruining his lunch every day by repeating the eaxct same sermon.

    These people are a complete embarrassment to Belfast. We should ban them from the city centre and create a version of Hyde Park Corner in the Ormeau Park or somewhere and pack them all off there…

  • Cruimh

    “Local People” ?
    I wonder who will be enfranchised.

    I’m all in favour of public art.

  • Margot

    You do not get that in Bangor – the Cultural Capital.

  • Cruimh

    You should see my garden Margot – I have some very fetching miniature statues prominently displayed for the public pleasure. Passers by love the humour of the little chap fishing in the wishing well!

  • wild turkey


    Alex Salmon?

    to keep the repentence guy happy how bout the tree of knowledge; with a snakes and ladder motif. fun for the entire family.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Salmon of doubt, more like…

    If we’re gonna give the Godbotherers somewhere to sit down while berating us, should we not go the whole hog and set up park bench seating with can holders for the Sprew drinkers…?

    How about something quintessentially Belfastesque – a statue of Mickey Marley and his roundabout? Or what about a statue of the three stages of BeleTele seller: the kid who really should be at school; the skinny bloke with the raspy voice from years of screaming “sixth-tele-sixth-tele-late-tele”; and the old bloke with the cloth cap and only a whisper of a voice left who always stood near SS Moores…

  • Dr Strangelove

    Surely there must be a chap called Arthur Square somewhere in NI who could be the model for the new statue.. that would be a nice touch.

    If anyone suggests NI’s recently departed favourite footballing alcoholic as the subject of the statue then they should be pubically flogged.

  • Cruimh

    “pubically flogged”

    cruel and unusual punishment.

  • wild turkey

    Doc S_love

    pubically flogged? ouch!

    how about a statue of someone being pubically flogged…
    even better a hologram that can be changed from time to time. one week a gay, next week an immigrant, next week a traveller; thru all nine section 75 categories.

    This has the potential to bring together the taliban fundamentalists from both ,uh, ‘communities’.

    a shared future, a shared flogging.

  • pith

    The minister wants to make Belfast a premier European city like Dublin, Glasgow or Liverpool. Is that a multiple choice question?

  • Dr Strangelove

    I would open a merkin emporium dealing in all things to do with merkin finery….

  • susan

    Jamie, how about the Trout of Doubt? The Lamprey of Dim Expectation? The Smelt of Something Burning? Or for Turkey, The Flog of Reason?

    Or a neo-classical statue of a beautiful naked woman, call her “Eve of Destruction”….

  • Baudrillard

    Not sure if anyone has heard the (possibly apocryphal) story of Belfast City Council’s public consultation on what should go on the empty plinth at Carlisle Circus?

    After much debate local consensus was that a giant statute of a dolphin would be just perfect. The council then quietly shelved the idea.

    A bit too Argos?

  • I’m quite bemused at specifically what connection the dolphin has with Belfast City. They may as well just erect a statue of a rhinoceros…

    Personally, I would’nt be uncomfortable with a statue of someone like Van Morrison.

  • Baudrillard

    Actually a rhinoceros would have been perfect!

    (Pretentious nod to Ionesco there.)

  • Forecast

    A bit off topic here but……MacSwinny ‘The other day I walked past him and he was getting stick from one of The English Workmen who is working on the big Victoria Square Project.’

    Not The English Workman, or the TEW – are they not supposed to be on ceasefire and putting their lunch beyond use at the moment.

    Interesting use of capitals……………

  • kensei

    “Personally, I would’nt be uncomfortable with a statue of someone like Van Morrison.”

    No. No more statues to shit local celebrities. Do something interesting.

    Also, while they are at it, can they redo the area in front of St Annes and the Art College. It really is fugly at the moment.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Never mind statues, I think we should rename many of the streets and squares in and around Belfast. Our street names are soooo boring! For one thing, half of them are named after a single guy and his extended family. (Arthur St, Chichester St, Donegall Place/Square/Street/Road/Pass/Park etc, Frederick St, Shaftesbury Square/Avenue etc.)

    I mean, okay, so we’ll name a street after the genocidal maniac – but do we need so many?

    Also, we have a Victoria Street AND a Great Victoria Street. Necessary? Queen’s Bridge AND Queen Elizabeth II Bridge?

    And another thing: we need more bridges across the Lagan. Start with pedestrian bridges from the lower Ormeau to the park, and from Annadale to the Holy Land. And give them interesting, resonant names! We’ve got enough monuments to queens and noblemen – let’s celebrate our artists, thinkers, inventors. (As in, our more interesting people.)

    High St, Governor’s Bridge, Royal Avenue, University Road, College Avenue, Oxford Street, Bridge Street, Queen Street, North Street….

    Whatever about the political objections some might have to some of these names, they are all deathly boring, and could be streets in any city in the English-speaking world. This is a problem with so many of Belfast’s street names – no local flavour at all. Grey, grey, grey.

    Yet we have nothing to commemorate great figures from the city’s, and region’s, past – no Larkin Street, Harland & Wolff Square, (CS) Lewis Road, nothing to mark Hewitt or MacNeice, Heaney or Longley, Van Morrison or Alex Higgins, Liam Neeson or Stephen Rea.

    Would anyone miss “Ridgeway Street” if it were to be renamed “Lyric Street” or, perhaps, “Field Day Street”? Would the residents of Beechmount Avenue object if their street was renamed Connolly Avenue, in memory of their most famous resident?

    Would the city be the poorer if it lost a High Street and gained a Feirste Street (in recognition of the river from which the city takes its name, which runs underneath High St.) And wouldn’t it be far more interesting if the city’s epicentre was United Irish Square, instead of yet another Donegall? Or if we lost “Bank Street” and gained Henry Joy Street (since he used to hang out there drinking and plotting in Kelly’s Cellars). And wouldn’t the people of Donegall Road be enriched by the reconnection with their own history that could come about if their locale was renamed Wolfe Tone Road?

    (Okay, maybe I’m going too far now….)

    My point is that cities are living, breathing things, the histories and cultures of which are reflected and passed down in the naming of things within them. Belfast is the poorer for having such crap names on everything – though perhaps this reflects the fact that it has almost always been a city in the grip of its least imaginative citizens – something as true today as ever.)

  • Baudrillard

    Billy Pilgrim: Henry Joy Street (since he used to hang out there drinking and plotting in Kelly’s Cellars)

    ‘Hang out there’ is a slightly unfortunate choice of words – as he was actually hanged near there too…!

  • I Wonder

    A statue of John Hewitt near or in the Writers Square, within close proximity of the pub of the same name, is overdue.

  • derek

    What about a statue of George Best outside the alcoholic clinic in Shaftesbury square.