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New 'Fancie Bench' unveiled in Blackpool

Tina Dempsey (second from right) with the illuminations team.

The work, by artist Tina Dempsey was unveiled by children from St. John's Primary.

The piece of public art is located in King’s Square in the town centre.

Pupils from St. Johns Church of England Primary school's council took part in the rig reveal.

The contemporary bench design, which has been named the ‘Fancie Bench’ because of its resemblance to Mr Kipling's famous fondant fancies, is the creation of local artist, Tina Dempsey.

Tina secured the commission through an open competition for artists to submit their ideas for public art works as part of the major improvement works being carried out across the town centre.  

Tina’s practice as an artist is all about exploring joy, how it makes us feel and what triggers it within us. She is interested in the impact that colour and shapes can have on people. Tina’s work explores how art can improve wellbeing and balance.

The project was a collaborative effort with the Blackpool Illuminations team who put their specialist skills into practice to fabricate the work.

The fibreglass shell was cast at the Lightworks depot, with Tina and artists from the Illuminations team hand painting the designs using an overhead projector to transfer the individual features onto the body of the bench. 

The Fancie Bench is Tina’s first permanent public artwork and she is hopeful that the bold colours will have a positive effect on people.

Tina said:

“Hopefully the bench will brighten up people’s day and have a positive impact on them which then ripples out on those around them. The bench is joyous and fun. We all need a little boost sometimes – the bench will hopefully have a positive effect on people’s mood and make them smile.

“My work is for everyone to be able access and enjoy. I hope that it becomes part of the community and that it encourages a sense of shared ownership.”

Cllr Kim Critchley, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Assistant for Arts, said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to offer a talented local artist her first public realm commission and I am sure her work is going to give everyone a little bit of joy when they walk down the street. It is fantastic that this new artwork can also be of practical use. 

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