Over 2,600 visitors flocked into Barnsley College’s Old Mill Lane campus to gaze at Luke Jerram’s Mars, as part of the Barnsley Bright Nights event.
Measuring seven metres in diameter, the artwork features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of Mars’ surface. The artwork allowed the public to see every valley, crater, volcano and mountain laid bare for us to inspect. The artwork transported us to this desert wasteland, to imagine what it’s like to step foot on the incredible planet.
Barnsley College’s venue offered a truly unique viewing experience, enabling visitors to enjoy a walking tour around the sculpture, seeing Mars from all angles. Lights were dimmed and a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones was played throughout the public viewing times to create a truly ethereal atmosphere.
“For our students, it brought art and Cultural Capital very much into focus as well as bringing the community together.”
The College also welcomed local schools including Joseph Locke Primary School, Holy Rood Catholic Primary School and Oakwell Rise Primary School. Over 100 children visited over three days to view Mars whilst also taking a tour of the Old Mill Lane campus to see the state-of-the-art facilities including the air cabin, restaurant and hairdressing salon. They were told about the exciting opportunities that are available to them after leaving school and took part in workshops encouraging them to think about the careers of the future.
Charlotte Varley, Design and Technology Co-ordinator at Joseph Locke Primary School, said: “Mars was breath-taking! Looking at this incredible planet from so many angles helped gave us a deeper understanding of this Red Planet. Our children loved the experience and we feel so lucky that we were invited to see such a wonderful exhibition. The team who looked after us were incredible. Thank you so much!”
Liz Leek, Deputy Principal for Culture, Place and Communities at Barnsley College, added: “It has been a real privilege to have this amazing artwork in College. For our students, it brought art and Cultural Capital very much into focus as well as bringing the community together. We are working really hard on this as a College and it’s something that students really want to get involved with.”
The installation marks an ongoing partnership between Barnsley College and Barnsley Council. The Council will be looking at installing artwork in the College annually, as part of its Bright Nights event.
Mars was also co-commissioned by Kunsthal KAdE, based in the Netherlands; the UK Space Agency; the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council and the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres, as well as supporting partner University of Bristol.