Soon to be part of Oswestry's town sculpture trail? The "Lord Greystoke" by Black Country Metalworks (photograph (c) Black Country Metalworks) via:

Soon to be part of Oswestry’s town sculpture trail? The “Lord Greystoke” by Black Country Metalworks (photograph (c) Black Country Metalworks) via:

Did you know that Oswestry was to get a “town sculpture trail”? No, neither did I.

In the Oswestry Advertiser today is an article announcing that the trail – sponsored by the Oswestry Joint Economic Board – is to consist of metal animal sculptures supplied by Black Country Metal Works, a company based in Aston near Oswestry. The company has a line of animal garden sculptures (you can view them on their website). The sculptures are to be supplied and maintained free – but are not the work of local artists. According to Chris Stokes, the Chairman of Oswestry Borderland Tourism, the sculptures will be “imported from abroad”.

Mr. Stokes complained, “There is a wealth of talent in Oswestry. These pieces could have been commissioned for a small amount from local artists. They would be of more interest for tourists coming to Oswestry to look at local artists’ work rather than something that is made abroad. I want to champion the case for Oswestry as an area you can find local work in the town.”

But, insist Oswestry Town Council, the imported sculptures will “revitalise the town and bring arty people in.” News to all the “arty people” who are already in Oswestry, perhaps – but we can all make up our minds at Easter, when the trail is opened.

It seems a shame that the Oswestry Joint Economic Board couldn’t have coordinated this a bit better. Chris Stokes makes some excellent points – and there are any number of local artists who would have been happy to work alongside both the Economic Board and Black Country Metal Works on this project. I’m sure Black Country Metal Works, the Economics Board and Oswestry Town Council had good intentions, but I can’t help feeling that, far from gaining a sculpture trail, Oswestry has lost an opportunity.