A PIECE of public art has been given the backing of Salisbury City Council and would be a ‘worthwhile addition’ to the city despite being labelled as ‘ugly’.

Salisbury City Council’s services committee last week agreed to support in principle Salisbury Civic Society in acquiring and siting a Man with Open Arms sculpture by Giles Penny. The sculpture would be a new casting of the art work.

Man with Open Arms was displayed in the Guildhall Square back in 1999 as part of a city-wide exhibition called Shape of the Century.

The majority of councillors were in support of the proposal, stating it would be beneficial for the city.

But Cllr John Lindley said he ‘loathed’ modern art, adding ‘it is ugly as anything. It is horrible’.

He said he could not support it and described it as ‘ugh’.

Cllr Matt Dean added: “I don’t like this piece of art either, but I did have a look at Giles Penny’s website and found I disliked all the other pieces of art on the website even more.

“But none-the-less, just because my personal preferences are not to like this sort of thing there is a huge benefit in terms of creating a sense of place and interest.

“We historically have not got a large amount of public art in Salisbury.But in my view everything in its place, this could be a very worthwhile and interesting addition to the public realm and our city. It is a fantastic initiative by members of the civic society so as a matter of principle we should support their work trying to bring a copy of this sculpture back to Salisbury.”

Cllr Ian Tomes said it drew people to particular areas and that ‘any public art within reason is good for the city’.

This was echoed by Cllr Margaret Wilmot, who welcomed the installation, and said the Guildhall and Market Square would be an interesting location for it.

No funding is currently being sought from the city council. And possible locations are being discussed by the civic society. and will be submitted to the council.