Gifted sculpture trail celebrates best of Stockport through eyes of students

Arts students, led by a graduate from Stockport College, are launching a special temporary sculpture trail in celebration of Stockport, to mark the opening of the new Viaduct Park

Gifted sculpture trail celebrates best of Stockport through eyes of students

Called the ‘Stockport Mile Gifted Sculpture Trail’ in recognition of what Stockport has given the group, the sculptures explore the special connections or associations students have with the town through physical form , story-telling, ceramics, industrial materials, collage, mark making or textiles.

Project lead and graduate from Stockport College, Susanna Vosper commented: “I’ve loved seeing how we all have a different association with Stockport. Each sculpture has a story behind it and some are really moving, including how students feel that they have been able to develop as artists with a sculpture called ‘Sprout’ which is a metaphor for ‘personal growth’, or as individuals finding independence such as ‘Grow a Pear’, or as a neurodiverse adult as voiced by a student’s work in the ‘16:03’ bus. Another sculpture called ‘Escape to the Park’ explores mental health and the importance of accessing the outdoors in Stockport’s parks.

“Some of the sculptures are playful such as ‘Me Gnashers’ celebrating a student being gifted straight teeth at Stepping Hill Hospital, whilst others really appreciate the rich history Stockport has to offer, along with recognising all the change its undergoing, such as the pieces ‘Untitled’ and ‘Abandoned’.”

Susanna added: “Everyone’s response has been so different and it’s great hearing the voices of young adults at the start of the creative careers, but it’s not just the current students who are grateful. I graduated in 2023, and, for me, Stockport gave me a chance as a mature student to follow my dream to do an art degree and become a practising artist so that was the focus of my piece.

“We really appreciate the Stockport Council’s Town of Culture programme backing this project.”

Visitors are invited to walk the one-mile route stopping to view the different sculptures being displayed in the windows of different shops and venues along the way, any time from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 March. Alternatively, they can join the officially organised walk at 11.30am on the Sunday starting at Viaduct Park.

Maps are available at the start point or to pick up at other key venues in the town including the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery and Hatworks. There’s also a Trail app developed by the Stockport College art and programming students, which can be accessed via mobile phone. Details can also be found at the map pick up points.

Councillor Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture & Sport at Stockport Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see how Stockport has inspired such fantastic sculptures by students at Stockport College, especially as our tenure as Greater Manchester Town of Culture draws to a close. Come to the town centre to join in the one mile route, part of the Town of Culture Weekender celebrations this coming weekend, to see if you can spot all the great artworks on display from such a talented group of art students.”