Artwork honouring those lost to Covid to be built by local community in ‘the town that never forgets’
Published on Monday, 6th December 2021
Bedworth's Miners' Welfare Park will host Sanctuary, a public event of commemoration, in March 2022
7 – 13 March 2022
“Let my soul be as a temple of remembrance where the treasures of knowledge enter and the
inner sanctuary is hope.” - George Eliot
In March 2022, a unique public memorial will be built in Nuneaton & Bedworth, birthplace of
George Eliot and home to the country’s largest Armistice Day Parade.
Sanctuary will stand as an unforgettable temporary structure and space of healing, built by the local community to
commemorate the nation’s loss during Covid. Artichoke, the UK’s leading producers of
extraordinary live events, will bring their unique approach to public art to the region, inviting
people to come together in the spirit of remembrance and hope.
Delivered in association with Coventry-based company Imagineer, the producers are calling for
local people who want to get involved, meet new people and learn new skills, both for the build
and for the event itself. Sanctuary will bring people together from across the area and provide
opportunities for employment and training, working through community groups and local
Through Artichoke’s continuing partnership with American artist David Best, local people will
work with Best and his crew to build an intricately carved wooden structure in the Miners’
Welfare Park in Bedworth, ”the town that never forgets”. Best is known for his soaring temples,
built at Burning Man and elsewhere, quiet places for contemplation and reconciliation.
Sanctuary will stand open to all for five days from 7-11 March, offering a space to remember
those we have lost and everyone impacted by Covid. A spectacular finale event on Sunday 13
March will cement Sanctuary as a beacon of hope to mark the rebirth, recovery and
regeneration of the whole community.
Jane Hytch, CEO of Imagineer says:
“This is a hugely exciting project for Nuneaton & Bedworth and the whole West Midlands
community. We are looking for all manner of volunteers, from complete beginners to those who
have experience in construction and woodworking to support with building the structure. We
are also running a competition for local schools, youth and community groups, to design their
own panels which will be included in the final Sanctuary design.
“And then, once the structure is built, we are looking for local people to become its guardians
to care for the space and for its visitors, giving information about the project and supporting
them to interact and connect with Sanctuary.”
Helen Marriage, CEO and Artistic Director of Artichoke, says:
“There has been much debate about appropriate memorials to those who have been lost to
COVID and less so about recognising all who got us through it. We wanted to make something
that was both a place to contemplate and remember, and somewhere joyful where people
were able to come together again. David’s vision and his long history of designing beautiful
spaces that hold people and bring comfort and some kind of resolution seem absolutely right
for this moment.”
Artist David Best, says:
“This past year and a half has not been easy for anyone. We have faced terrible tragedy and
great loss. I believe in the power of collaboration and community, that by recognising pain and
sadness, and laying down our burdens, we can face the future from a place of hope and
renewal. That’s what I hope Sanctuary will bring to the people of Nuneatron & Bedworth, the
West Midlands and everyone who makes the journey here.”
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council leader Cllr Kristofer Wilson says:
"Sanctuary is a truly remarkable set of ideas that will bring excitement and spectacle to this
park, this town and this Borough.
"We are delighted to welcome creative and innovative events to our area, and urge people to
get involved in what is certain to be a unique and memorable experience.
“This event is an opportunity to showcase Bedworth on both the national and international
stage and I am really excited to use this opportunity to welcome visitors from around the world
to our town. Bedworth knows how to make people welcome and I'm sure we will continue to do
Sanctuary is produced by Artichoke in association with Imagineer, is supported by Nuneaton &
Bedworth Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council, and the DCMS Culture Recovery
Sanctuary is seeking local businesses who want to play their part by supporting this
once-in-a-generation opportunity. The Sanctuary Business Club starts from £500 + VAT and
offers a range of benefits in return. Whether your company is looking to engage employees,
boost your profile, or are simply a champion for everything Nuneaton & Bedworth has to offer,
there is a package for you. Please get in touch with Ma-ayan Plane, Deputy Development
Director at Artichoke to find out more Ma-ayan.Plane@artichoke.uk.com or 07909754098.
Producers of extraordinary live events, Artichoke is one of the country’s leading creative
companies and is a registered charity, funded by Arts Council England. At Artichoke, we use art
to undermine the mundane and disrupt the everyday to create a new kind of world that we’d all
like to live in.
Artichoke creates and produces Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, which has been staged
in Durham every two years since 2009; in Derry~Londonderry in Northern Ireland as part of the
celebrations for City of Culture 2013, and in London 2016 and 2018. Our recent project, Women
Making History (2021), was an exhibition of more than 100 banners made by leading artists with
community groups, the legacy of PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork that brought
tens of thousands of women onto the streets in June 2018 to celebrate 100 years of votes for
women, commissioned by 14-18 NOW. Previous projects include Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s
Elephant (London in 2006); La Machine’s 50-foot high mechanical spider for Liverpool’s Capital
of Culture celebrations (2008); Antony Gormley’s One & Other commission for the Fourth
Plinth in Trafalgar Square (2009); Deborah Warner’s Peace Camp commission for the London
2012 Festival with Fiona Shaw; Temple by David Best in Derry~Londonderry (2015); and
London’s Burning, a festival commissioned by the City of London Corporation to commemorate
the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London (2016). artichoke.uk.com | Social Media:
@artichoketrust | #Sanctuary
Coventry-based Imagineer has a long track record of working with communities and artists to
create moments, events and festivals that celebrate the marriage of art and engineering.
Rooted strongly in its West Midlands territory, Imagineer has a growing network of artists,
designers, makers, and community participants that can turn its hand to anything.
About David Best
David Best was born in California in 1945, where he continues to live and work. He trained in
sculpture at the San Francisco Institute of Art and his work includes sculpture and collage,
using found objects to embellish cast porcelain figures and sculptural works made from the
skeletons of old cars.
Collaboration is central to Best’s work. Since 2000, he has been building soaring, ornately
carved Temples at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. The intricate structures are
made from recycled wood and each is built with the help of hundreds of volunteers. The
Temples have taken on a spiritual significance as spaces for remembrance and forgiving. They
are ritually burnt to the ground at the end of the event, along with the personal messages,
mementos and offerings left inside by participants.
Artichoke’s continuing partnership with Best began In 2015, when he designed and built Temple
in Derry~Londonderry, a radical cross-community peacemaking project, produced by
Artichoke. In 2016, he worked with Artichoke again on London 1666, a large-scale replica of the
City of London, which was burned on the Thames to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great
Fire of London.
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