Dudley is one of the few local authorities in the country to have its own public artist. The post provides in-house advice and expertise to develop public art initiatives. The main elements of the role are to design, procure, execute, head and develop art within the borough.
The post within the Public Art Unit of Dudley Council has operated for nearly 20 years and been recognised at a national level. It has collected awards such as the National Art Collections Fund Award for an outstanding contribution to the creation of art ‘outside the gallery’, and the Royal Society of Arts ‘Art for Architecture’ Award.
The role is currently held by Steve Field who has worked for Dudley Council for 20 years after stints with BBC Pebble Mill, Birmingham, and freelancing to produce public art across the country. He studied at Sheffield University and Wolverhampton Polytechnic and has degrees in architecture and a masters degree in fine art.
The role of the public artist is self-funded through a trading account. This means that income is generated through commissions, and through providing services like bid writing, art and restoration advice. Many of the projects are funded by specialist grants and not from the tax payer.