In just 3 weeks, almost 18,000 people visited the earth sculpture, Gaia at St. Chad’s Church in Kirkby.
The artwork by Luke Jerram formed part of the opening series of events – called New Dawn – launched Knowsley’s year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture.
The 6-metre sculpture is created from detailed NASA imagery of the earth’s surface to demonstrate the fragility of the planet and provided a unique opportunity to view our world.
Key to the success of Gaia was a vibrant events programme that used Gaia as a stunning backdrop as well as a central symbol of hope and unity. While Gaia was on display residents and community groups came together to enjoy a range of things including performances of traditional Hindu dancing, storytelling events, poetry recitals, Karate demonstrations and a special event celebrating LGBT+ History Month. Significantly hundreds of pupils from schools across the Borough also visited St. Chad’s to see Gaia, using the work to learn more about climate change, their carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
A highlight of the events programme was the mass renewal of wedding vows conducted on Valentine’s Day in the presence of Gaia. Almost 50 couples, previously married at St. Chad’s Church took part in this special event – from 2 years of marriage to 65 years, it was a celebration of their love and lives together.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “From the moment I saw Gaia on display at St. Chad’s Church I knew it would capture the public’s imagination. The final visitor count demonstrates the real appetite there is for culture in Knowsley and the power culture has in uniting people. I’m sure people are excited to see what the rest of our year brings.”
The Best of Gaia at St. Chad’s Church
Valentine’s Day mass renewal of wedding vows at St. Chad’s Church
Borough of Culture
The Borough of Culture title was introduced by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. It is awarded annually on a rotational basis to one of the six local authorities that make up the Liverpool City Region.
The Borough of Culture is part of the 1% for Culture initiative which commits at least 1% of the Liverpool City Region’s annual gain share (£300k) to cultural projects/activities. Established as an annual award rotating around the boroughs, the Borough of Culture helps to celebrate, amplify and strengthen the existing cultural offer, develop new ideas and initiatives that will underpin future development and legacy.
Liverpool City Region is the first Combined Authority to have control over culture in its devolution deal, utilising many of the region’s existing assets and talent to stimulate cultural and creative opportunities.
The Borough of Culture was first launched in St Helens in 2018, followed by Wirral 2019, Sefton 2020, Halton in 2021 and is currently held by Knowsley for 2022. The programme rotation will recommence in 2023 back in St Helens.