Artists invited to submit ideas on public artwork for new St Rollox church

A Church of Scotland congregation is commissioning an ambitious £45,000 public artwork for its new building in Glasgow.

Artists will be asked to submit designs for a public sculpture or relief to be sited on or near one of the outside walls of the new St Rollox Church in North Glasgow, part of Glasgow City Council’s £250 million transformational regeneration area in Sighthill.

An artist's impression of the new St Rollox Church
An artist's impression of the new St Rollox Church

The artwork is envisaged as a landmark and iconic focal point for the community in the regeneration area—a major piece of public art that will stand the test of time. The total budget, including materials, transportation and the artist’s fee will be £45,000.

Rev Jane Howitt, minister for St Rollox, said the congregation is looking for a significant artwork that represents the unique nature of the congregation and/or a Biblical theme that will resonate with everyone in the area.

“We are very excited to see how artists respond to our brief and we hope to see proposals that reflect our unique congregation and our mission in the Sighthill community,” she said.

“On any given Sunday we can have people from around 20 different countries regularly worshipping together, all of whom have found a welcome at St Rollox and have made it their spiritual home.

“This brings a rich spiritual and cultural mix to our life together as a family of God.”

St Rollox has a long tradition of supporting refugees and asylum seekers and its congregation is a mix of longstanding Sighthill residents and people from across Glasgow who have come to Scotland from all over the world.

With volunteers offering a wide range of support services including a foodbank, a second-hand clothes store, a café, English classes and welfare advice, the church is a hive of activity. It is also home to the most ethnically diverse Church of Scotland congregation in the country, as well as one of the youngest.

The congregation at St Rollox Church
The congregation at St Rollox Church

In late 2014, the St Rollox congregation learned it would have to move out of its current church building because it stands in the way of the new road to the regeneration area, which will include more than 800 new homes.

The new church building, just half a mile away from the existing church, is intended to become a state-of- the-art worship centre and community resource for the area.

The artwork is part of the larger project of building the new church and all the costs are covered under the compulsory purchase agreement with Glasgow City Council.

The competition for the commission begins this week and entries will be accepted until 24 May.

A jury made up of members of the St Rollox congregation and representatives from Glasgow City Council and the Church of Scotland will review the entries and draw up a shortlist of three on 13 June.

Shortlisted artists will be invited to spend time with the congregation and to refine their proposals before submitting a final design. The jury will make a final decision in late August, and if everything goes as planned, the artwork could be installed as early as April 2019.

Artists can download the brief for the commission here or contact the minister, Rev Jane Howitt at jhowitt@churchofscotland.org.uk