Lottery probe into care of sculpture
A PROBE was launched by the National Lottery following complaints about the maintenance of a city sculpture.
Officials from the Big Lottery Fund are talking to Peterborough Environment City Trust ( PECT) after it received a complaint that the Power Rhythm sculpture on the Eye roundabout in Paston Parkway was not being properly cleaned or maintained.
The work, owned by PECT, was commissioned in 2000 by the Millennium Commission, which is now the Big Lottery Fund.
The complaint was made by the sculpture’s creator Robert Erskine, who claims PECT has never had it cleaned despite graffiti being scrawled over it, has never connected the lights to illuminate it properly and has not put the correct gravel in place at its base.
A spokesman for the Big Lottery Fund said they were speaking to PECT to make sure the sculpture was being looked after.
He said: “We are aware of the issues raised by Mr Erskine and are discussing a way forward with PECT to ensure the sculpture is protected.
“Complaints raised with us about any of the projects we fund are investigated as a matter of course.”
The 40ft tall, stainless steel sculpture has been the centre of a tug of war between Mr Erskine and PECT for weeks after the angry sculptor said he was going to sell the piece of work because it was not being maintained.
The piece was commissioned as part of the Green Wheel cycle path through the city.
It cost £35,000 and took four months to complete, and Mr Erskine was paid £11,000 for his work on the piece.
Last month, Mr Erskine revealed he had been offered £1.2 million from a foreign collector and had accepted the offer.
But after PECT proved they owned the piece earlier this month, Mr Erskine said he had been forced to withdraw the sale.
PECT chief executive Hugh Cripps said he was looking to transfer ownership of the sculpture to the Peterborough Sculpture Trust, so they could maintain the piece.
But despite withdrawing the sale, the award-winning artist said he was taking legal advice to try and ensure the sculpture is maintained properly.
He said: “Within weeks of Power Rhythm being installed I wrote to PECT requesting that the lighting be installed and connected, bonded gravel be placed around the base, and graffiti which had unfortunately appeared on the day of its unveiling be removed.
“As of today, none of this has been resolved and each time I requested action it is not forthcoming.”
He added that he believed his artistic rights were being breached.
He said; “Under UK and EU Law pertaining to the moral artistic rights of the author of artworks, PECT will be issued with relevant legal proceedings as they have infringed my rights and they will be upheld.”
No-one from PECT was available for comment.
complaint: Artist Robert Erskine has complained to the Big Lottery Fund about the maintenance of the Power Rhythm sculpture. (METP-27-04-10RH38)