Last Push for the Southsea Dinosaur

Visualisation of the Luna Park tribute bronze artwork alongside the Luna Park 10 Years virtual reality digital dinosaur by Studio Morison, 2020.

Portsmouth’s contemporary art gallery Aspex is just one final Ultrasaurus sized step away, from reaching it’s fundraising target to commission a new piece of public art for Southsea Common.

Aspex’s crowdfunding campaign to ‘Bring Back The Southsea Dinosaur’ has received pledges from members of the public for over 25% of its £10,000 target, unlocking £5000 of match funding from Portsmouth City Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), funds generated from developers undertaking building projects in the city.

Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex said, “This support from Portsmouth City Council really puts the campaign on the home straight now and we’ve got just a few more days to make this project happen.

The artists Heather & Ivan Morison propose to develop a work which will be more than just a bronze dinosaur; the permanent tribute to Luna Park will house a digital archive of memories and photographs, and also give visitors the ability to experience the ‘life-size’ dinosaur through the magic of augmented reality! If the people of Portsmouth want their own history to take pride of place on Southsea Common for future generations to enjoy, they have an opportunity through crowdfunder to commission the public art they want to see. I love the idea of people being able to stroll along the seafront and tell their kids, grandchildren, family and friends ‘I helped commission that artwork for my City’.”

Backed enthusiastically by all three councillors for the St Jude’s ward (Cllr Graham Heaney, Cllr Hugh Mason and Cllr Judith Smythe), as well as Councillor Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, Aspex ’s crowdfunder campaign is the first stage of ambitious fundraising plan to realise this tribute to Luna Park the much loved Southsea Dinosaur, and the gallery are committed to raising a further £25,000 from other sources.

Councillor Steve Pitt said, “Our visual arts community have come into their own during COVID-19, giving us all something to be able to smile about, in much the same way that the ‘Luna Park’ dinosaur did during the economic crisis 10 years ago. It is fantastic that we can revisit those amazing memories and if everyone gets on board, make sure we have a permanent reminder of the Ultrasaurus. Let’s make this happen!”

Aspex have already secured significant public support with pledges made from almost 100 people, from as little as £5 to hundreds. The live campaign: offers the public the opportunity to make a donation or a pledge in exchange for one of a range of rewards. Rewards include dinosaur t-shirts and themed creative birthday parties for children; calendars, pin badges and limited edition artworks; and exclusive portrait photo shoots and event hire packages at Aspex ’s iconic building in Gunwharf Quays.

Aspex’s ‘Bring Back The Southsea Dinosaur’ crowdfunding campaign runs until Sunday 13th September and needs to reach the £10,000 target to secure the pledged funds.

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