At the Kay Park
The Kay Park in Kilmarnock was identified as the first area for the AWiPP, as part of the wider investment in the park with the new Burns Monument Centre. John Crosby was selected from 17 applications from artists working across the UK in the public realm.
John’s proposal focused on Burns and new Scottish poetry, as well as linking with genealogy and the new centre as the inspiration for the works. John worked with school pupils to develop the project and to give the young residents of the area a sense of ownership of the works and the park.
Silverwood and Loanhead Primary Schools were invited to take part in the project, being the two schools nearest the Kay Park. Pupils researched an ancestor and then visited the Burns Memorial Centre, working with the staff there to do their research.
The pupils also worked with Poet Rab Wilson - one of Scotland’s most prolific and published poets who writes in Scots. Rab worked with the pupils to write poetry and learn about the Scots language, enabling to write a poem about their selected ancestor. The result was a fantastic book of 56 new poems written by Primary 6 and 7 pupils from both schools.
The titles of the poems and the names of the authors form the spines of the physical seating aspect of the work. Two sculptural benches made from galvanised steel books stood on their sides, curve around the beginning of ‘To a Mouse’, the carved red granite poetry path, paying homage to our National Bard and allowing the viewer to meander along through the park.
The Kay Park project has achieved a number of aims, over and above the visual, sculptural and aesthetic appearance of the park. Creativity, inspiration, friendship, learning, sharing and citizenship are the real outcomes of the Kay Park Artists Work in Public Places project.