Preston back alley to be lit by thousands of red balloons

Posted on - 21st August, 2016 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
Surgeon's Court is to be lit for three nights Pic: Tony Worrall

Surgeon’s Court is to be lit for three nights Pic: Tony Worrall

A grimy back street in Preston’s city centre is to become a colourful display during an arts festival.


Surgeon’s Court, running between Charnley Street and Lune Street, is easily missed.

But environmental artist Steve Messam is going to be turning it into a Red Rose.

More than 4,000 bright red balloons will fill the space between the buildings and be lit at night.

It’s to take place as part of the Lancashire Encounter festival which runs from Friday 23 September to Sunday 25 September, including a festival of light procession on the Saturday night.

Preston City Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure councillor Peter Kelly said: “The Lancashire Encounter programme is a fantastic mix of performances and experiences from artists and groups across Lancashire and Steve’s Red Rose installation is an exciting addition.

“The red rose symbol of Lancashire is widely recognised and this unique installation will bring Surgeon’s Court – an often forgotten part of the city – to life.”

Where is Surgeon's Court?

Where is Surgeon’s Court?

Funding for the art installation comes from Marketing Lancashire who bid for Arts Council lottery funding.

Read more: Arts wheel to roll through Preston for the Lancs Encounter

Business manager Justina Ma said: “Marketing Lancashire is working with cultural organisations from all over Lancashire to develop and showcase the cultural tourism offer for visitors.

“Steve’s commission, linking a collection of distinctive cultural events, through a new twist on the Lancashire red rose, will help highlight the county’s new cultural narrative which forms part of a wider strategy to grow visitor numbers and attract investment.”

Who is Steve Messam?

Based in the North of England he’s renowned for doing odd things in rural and urban settings.

In 2006 he turned a redundant building in the North Pennines to be encased in a transparent glove.

In 2007 he filled a beach with thousands of sandcastles and paper flags.

His recent work has been taking giant red objects into the real world, as you can see in the seven spires he put in the canals round Oxford.

One of Steve's projects in Oxford

One of Steve’s projects in Oxford

Will you be going to see the Surgeon’s Court artwork? What do you think of the idea? Let us know in the comments below

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