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Deputy Minister to unveil sculpture

Created on 13/05/2022 @ 14:17
A new piece of public art will be unveiled in Newtown on Saturday (14 May) celebrating the birth of Robert Owen, the social reformer who was born in the town 251 years ago.

The public art was commissioned last year by the Robert Owen 250 Project as part of the 250th anniversary celebrations. On Saturday, it will be 251 years since Owen was born.

The art will be unveiled at Trehafren Fields by by Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip, and Tom Jones, Powys High Sheriff.

Robert Owen was a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropist and social reformer. His ideas about principled manufacturing, youth education and early child care, and the importance of community resonate with two and a half centuries later. 

After full public consultation, a combined project to mark this anniversary was launched, with a variety of events taking place in Newtown throughout 2021 and 2022.

"A permanent piece of public art was commissioned and has been installed by professional artist, Howard Bowcott," said a spokesperson for the project.

"Intentionally placed in the green spaces of Trehafren Fields next to the river to encourage visitors to explore the Town a little further, with free parking nearby, it will act as a link from the town centre through to housing, the college and mountain bike trail.

"This new sculpture will act as a platform for debate, a space for contemplation, a meeting point, a way marker and a place for socialising.

"Designed to illustrate the warp and weft of a piece of textile, the sculpture aims to reflect all aspects of Robert Owen’s history, including those more difficult."

The writers Sadia Pineda Hameed and Dylan Huw were commissioned to work with the local community and compose words in response to Robert Owen’s history through the lens of the 21st Century, now engraved along the side of the work.

There are four distinct aspects of the Robert Owen 250 project, all being delivered with the intention to invite community involvement:

A permanent piece of public art in Newtown to be commissioned and created by a professional artist [complete]; 
A local sculpture competition for young people to explore the life and work of Robert Owen (in partnership with Mid Wales Arts Centre) [complete]; 
An augmented reality trail in Newtown that will tell Robert Owen’s story [June 2022]; and 
Support to update the Robert Owen Museum including refreshed displays providing a wide-ranging account of his life, and an outreach programme for schools with a dedicated outreach officer to deliver the programme [June 2022]. 

Members of the public are invited to join the unveiling by meeting at Oriel Davies at 12pm on Saturday for a joint procession to the Sculpture at 12.15pm. Proceedings will be complete no later than 1pm.

The RO250 project is funded by Welsh Government, Powys County Council, Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and the Robert Owen Museum. The partner organisations are the Arts Council of Wales, Oriel Davies Gallery and Race Council Cymru.