Following a residency in Truro, artist Kerry Lemon created a journey through the ground floor of the newly transformed Hall for Cornwall. Storypoints illustrates ten key points from City Hall’s important past at the heart of the city. Read on to find out how the commission came about and see behind the scenes of its construction.
A Timeline for Transformation
In 2018 Hall for Cornwall closed for a three year transformation. As part of this, the National Lottery Heritage Fund generously awarded the theatre a substantial grant to allow the theatre to explore and share its history in meaningful, creative and inclusive ways for the people of Truro and beyond. This body of work became ‘Revealing City Hall’ and showcased the stories of City Hall’s past.
From the very inception of Revealing City Hall, the ambition was to be able to share the stories of the building in a permanent way. The building isn’t a museum or gallery, rather it is a busy theatre. With this in mind, the team had to think creatively about how to capture visitor’s imaginations and attention as they moved through the new theatre space.
Hall for Cornwall during its transformation.
The Perfect Fit
Kerry Lemon has an excellent record in creating engaging, well researched and crucially – community centered public artwork. Kerry works throughout the United Kingdom and internationally on large scale projects, often taking months or years in the making. Her client list extends across housing corporations, councils, luxury goods companies, hospitals, universities and banks. Alongside this, she shows her fine art in public and private art galleries.
Working closely with the Get Creative team at Hall for Cornwall, Kerry put together a proposal for the timeline, drawing on her recent experience of creating heritage trails alongside her fabricators. These ideas alongside research and texts became the heart of Storypoints. From police station, balls, courts, roller rinks the building has functioned in so many different ways and it was important that the ten points celebrated this. Texts for Storypoints were written as part of a carefully tailored set of paid Postgraduate Interpretation Placements with adults looking to work across Cornwall’s heritage sector.
Projects featured include l-r ‘Skylarks’ and ‘Herbarium’ Find out more about Kerry Lemon.
Kerry Lemon visited Truro In May 2021 to meet with members of the local community. Kerry spent time with City Of Lights, Truro Drama Group, Hall for Cornwall’s Youth Theatre and Truro Art Club. Each session was designed in partnership with Hall for Cornwall to offer a different opportunity for Kerry to listen to visitors and members of Hall for Cornwall’s communities. From tin-making workshops to mentoring, business advice, presentations and focus groups, everyone had an opportunity to express their opinion on what the 10 roundels should be.
Tin rubbing and cutting workshop with Truro Art Club and Hall for Cornwall Youth Clubs.
Taking Shape : Materials and Process
Each Storypoint was made from an extremely hard-wearing combination of porcelain, bronze and a bronze-effect inlay. Each roundel measures 30cm in diameter and is approximately 5cm deep. The illustrations were created in Kerry’s signature style and were designed specifically with rubbings in mind. Rubbings is the act of taking an impression of a textured object by placing paper over it and running a crayon over it. The more texture, the clearer the rubbing and so this was an important consideration in creating the drawings.
During the building’s closure, and running concurrently to the building project nearing completion, each Storypoint was carefully plotted, re-plotted and plotted once again. Each Storypoint was given fair consideration in terms of the material it was to be set into, the visitor footfall, and of course the all-important planning permission for installing permanent floor-based artworks inside a Grade II listed building!
A simplified presentation version of the floorplans and elevations used to site each Storypoint.
Below is an example of an original illustration from Kerry detailing the weights used in the marketplace to fairly weight and measure goods to a standardised price. These illustrations were then added into the finished design detailing the location, subject and dates relating to the activity or place. Once signed off by the Senior Leadership Team this design was then fabricated in Nottingham, ready for installation at Hall for Cornwall in mid-2021 ahead of the opening. Some of the roundels were set directly into a specially-cut hole in the ground. Another way of laying the roundels occured in the Green Room Cafe. The new floors were laid with a special circular space left in them for the roundels. This required an extra level of attention to detail!
Tours and More Information
Each Storypoint is accompanied by a QR code which can be scanned to reveal information for adults, and an activity trail for children. The Storypoints are part of every tour at the theatre and provide a slice of heritage to anyone waiting in line for an ice cream, sitting having a coffee, or simply looking for their seat ahead of a performance.