The concept for a striking visual statement at the entrance of Albert Road has been discussed for more than a decade, with ideas of a Carnaby Street-like archway sign, sculptures and more kicked around but with seemingly nothing building enough momentum to become reality. About 8 years or so, around the time of Love Albert Road days there were the first real discussions of a sculpture to go on to the ‘island’ at the junction of Albert Road and Victoria Road South, which is normally the home of the Christmas Tree. The public were asked to inform the final decision with a vote on different designs all relating to the theme of waves, water and the wind.
The original design by artists Vanessa Cutler and Dr. Cate Watkinson was of a tunnel-wave-like structure of glass lit up from below. This design then morphed in to a family of curved glass panels that are lit within at night, guiding people in to Albert Road. Albert Road had been granted £90,000 worth of funding from Awards for All, Arts Council of England and Portsmouth City Council. In addition, Albert Road Traders – a not for profit association – have also been fundraising continuously and tirelessly through community events over recent years.
The wait is almost over, with the main panels now installed and work continuing apace. Looking forward to seeing this newest of public art in Southsea and Portsmouth.