Upside down bus to attract visitors

A GIANT, high-profile piece of conceptual art to be installed in a seaside resort looks set to cause controversy and division among residents and visitors.

A GIANT, high-profile piece of conceptual art to be installed in a seaside resort looks set to cause controversy and division among residents and visitors.

Internationally renowned artist Elizabeth Wright plans to install a full size passenger coach on its rear, with its windscreen facing the sky, to tower over the shoreline of Walton on the Naze.

The work is part of a three-year visual arts project called Coast, which is designed to increase awareness of and visits to, the Essex coastline.

Initiated by Essex County Council and funded with Arts Lottery funding, the scheme to create artwork up and down the coast is backed by the region's premier art gallery Firstsite and Commissions East, a Cambridge visual arts agency.


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However the project, which will remain in place for a year, has already caused concern, with some people saying even if it does bring more tourists in they still do not want it there.

Essex County and Tendring District councillor for the Walton area, Mick Page, said: “When I was told of this at first I couldn't believe it. On the night they unveiled the proposal I thought someone from Candid Camera was going to come out.

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“To spend lottery money on an up-ended coach on our sea front is hitting Walton in the eye.

“If it was a proper sculpture doing something for the area that would be one thing, even if it was a modern sculpture like the Angel of the North,” he said.

“This might bring lots of people and lots of publicity, but it is not the sort we want.”

Mr Page said he thought the coach would be vandalised and rotted by the seawater within six months.

“This is the last thing we want when we're trying to improve the town. People will ask what Walton is playing at.”

But Tendring District Council leader Terry Allen said he supported the idea.

“Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. If somebody is going to spend a large amount of money on a project that will attract tourists to the area then I am all for it being in our district,” he said.

A spokesman for Tendring District Council said reactions at the town hall had been mixed.

“Some see this as controversial. Others see it as exciting and challenging.

“Either way, it is a serious work by an artist of international renown, and it will certainly turn the spotlight on Walton, which will please a great many.

“People will have to see it and make their own minds up.”

Describing the work as a “landmark standing tall”, in a statement artist Ms Wright wrote: “With this new orientation pointing towards the sky and the future, the coach will be associated with a more glamorous form of air travel.

“For many people the prospect of a holiday is a dream to escape.

“The coach will be a romantic symbol for holidaymakers, a vehicle for anticipating an adventure, a holidaymaker's fantasy.”

Kay TwitchenEssex County Council cabinet member for environment, culture and heritage, said: “The county council is happy to be playing a part - it is an innovative and unusual, but clearly has the support of local people.”

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