Key Quotes

The following selection of quotes about Dream comes from a variety of people, including ordinary members of the public as well as those involved in the project.


In time, comments from the messageboard will also be included here so be sure to register your thoughts there!


David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund: "I was always sure that the Big Art Project was a great idea, but when I heard Gary Conley, one of the ex-miners in St Helens, talk about how it had changed the way he saw the world, I was very moved. I can't imagine a more powerful testimony to the power of art than that."


Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA): "Creating a nationally recognised landmark on this formerly underused site will make a massive contribution to transforming the image of St.Helens and Merseyside in the minds of residents, potential visitors and investors. Dream will be a catalyst for the recreation and leisure development of the area, drawing visitors to the site and to the surrounding area and complementing the Mersey Forest development and St.Helens Forest Park."


Ann B.: "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you - amazing, amazing, amazing."


Alison C.: "I love Dream, and luckily I can see her on my way to work each day."


Linda C.: "The sculpture is inspirational and, as promised, the ambience changes with the weather and sky."


Gary Conley, lead spokesperson for the Focus Group of ex-miners from Sutton Manor Colliery and a star of Channel 4's Big Art TV series: "My ex-colleagues and I have been involved in the process every step of the way through the Big Art Project. When we were approached to nominate the site, we would have been happy to just have a memorial erected on the site. Now, following our Big Art journey, our eyes have been opened to what art can mean to a community. It's fascinating to see how a group of ex-miners now view the world differently. Consequently we wanted something that was more than just another mining monument.


Thanks to this fantastic artist, Jaume Plensa, I believe we have a piece of artwork that not only reflects the past heritage of the site but also projects it into the future. Sutton Manor Colliery may never produce coal again, but now, because of this wonderful piece of artwork, its soul and its millions of memories will live on.


I never envisaged that on top of this former colliery spoil heap we would have something of such beauty. In the years I worked at Sutton Manor Colliery seeing the hustle and bustle, along with the dirt, smoke, steam and coal produced on that very spot, I would never have guessed that years later it would become somewhere peaceful and serene, where families would want to visit for a day out to admire Dream and its panoramic surroundings. I often have to pinch myself to realise I'm not in a dream! I feel proud and honoured to have been part of this project."


Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England: "The enthusiasm and vision of the miners and people of St.Helens for the Big Art Project shows exactly how art can create a sense of belonging and pride in the places where we live. Working with the artist, they have achieved something truly inspirational. The unique way in which local people have been involved in the process has been challenging at times, but ultimately rewarding for everyone involved. I hope it will inspire other communities to create more public art that really says something."


Maureen M.: "Visited Dream today. took my mother who celebrated her 80th birthday on 12th August. Her father worked at Sutton Manor aged 24 after returning from 1st World War. Words cannot describe the emotion evoked by this wonderful work of art. Thank you, thank you to all who made it possible."


Bob Hepworth, Director of Regeneration & Housing, St.Helens Council: "It is fitting that the official launch of Dream is a community led event that reflects the community's close involvement with the project from day one."


Frank Leach, ex-miner & Focus Group member: "I think it's superb and the people I've spoken to like it. It's a great job. It's brought people together and it shows that if you've got something that people can focus on they will make the effort."


Roderick Leslie: "Congratulations to St.Helens and all the partners for Dream. I visited it for the first time earlier this week and thought it was quite fantastic - as is the forest surrounding it and the whole transformation of the Sutton Manor area. From the continuous stream of people walking up to see it, it's clearly already very well established as a local icon.


"Dream is right on top of the spot where I stood over 10 years ago to agree to the Forestry Commission taking on the planting of Sutton Manor. At the time several of the houses opposite the site were boarded up and I set an unofficial objective that their future would be the best indicator of whether or not we had succeeded - at the time the likelihood was that they'd be bulldozed, along with thousands of other houses in the Northwest. It really is incredible to see not only all the old houses in good condition, but also new estates springing up.


"At the time we got involved it was obvious St.Helens was visionary in tackling the huge problems facing the Borough - and I think you've excelled yourselves with Dream. Well done"


Mr. M.: "After being a total cynic with regards to Dream we dutifully went today on the grand unveiling and it was awesome. I have totally changed my views after being present today and then watching the CH4 programme on how it came about. You could totally relate to the miners on how the Dream came about. People forget the town's motto "Ex terra lucem" - from the earth came light - it says it all without having to say anything."


Gary McBride, Chairman & Owner of Evans Concrete Products (who manufactured and installed Dream's panels): "Dream is the epitome of everything I have tried to do in the concrete industry. Every skill available to us has been put to good use to create a wonderful sculpture like this, one that my kids will be able to bring their kids to for many years to come. To be given the opportunity to be involved in a project like this was wonderful."


Andrew McDonald, Deputy Director of the Art Fund: "I think Dream will become iconic - in fact it already is. It is an incredibly, beautiful, poignant statement of what art can do in response to a community brief for something that matters to them. We are extremely impressed with it and the way it has engaged the community around St.Helens."


Duncan Mcnaughton, local Forestry Commission Community Ranger responsible for the Sutton Manor site: "When the sun comes out from behind the clouds and hits Dream it looks like someone has put a spotlight on it. It fits in with the landscape has put this place on the map. I feel proud to be associated with the site where Dream is, and it has built not just a national reputation but an international one too."


Laurie Peake, Dream Curator and Programme Director: Public Art at Liverpool Biennial: "It goes beyond all expectations. It seems to melt into the landscape and into the clouds and it feels very organic and natural. What is beautiful about it is that it has this 'other-worldly' beauty that people have really responded to. It's very rare these days to have art that is so beautiful, emotional and spiritual and I think it's great that St.Helens has got it."


Jaume Plensa, artist: "My work is first and foremost about celebrating life and the human experience of standing in between past and present, present and future, knowledge and ignorance.


I fell in love with this site in St.Helens as soon as I saw it! The spectacular setting, proud heritage, vision for the future, and the warmth, humour and passion of the former miners I have met are all truly inspirational. To have been invited to capture the essence, hopes, and aspirations of a whole community on this scale is a great honour but also an awesome responsibility.


I am very happy with Dream because I have created a special place for people to be. The site at Sutton Manor is a high point with amazing views all around and I would like people to use the steps around the sculpture as a place to sit and enjoy looking at the landscape. I hope that it will be a very relaxing and inspiring place and that people say to one another 'Let's meet at Dream'. That is when I will know it is a success."


"Like much of my work, Dream seeks to connect earth to heaven, and spirit to matter"


Alan Roby, ex-miner and member of the Shining Lights Heritage Group: "I didn't think it would be so fantastic. Looking at the model I thought 'That's OK', but when it was actually built it was brilliant. I can see Dream from where I live and at night, with the moon shining on it, it looks almost ghostly. It lights the skyline up."


Mike Smith, Director of Carbon Media, Big Art Trustee and Executive Producer of the Big Art TV series: "In St.Helens the question at the heart of the project has been answered in an extraordinary way: what has public art got to do with the public? It has created a level of participation among people across the whole of St.Helens which has surpassed our expectations."


Cllr. Brian Spencer, the Leader of St.Helens Council and himself a former colliery electrician: "This spectacular Dream concept is intended to symbolise the positive post-industrial transformation that St.Helens has undergone in recent years. It is a testament to the nature and scale of our forward-looking ambition that an artist of the international standing of Jaume Plensa is undertaking this commission.


This landmark new artwork aims to not only put St.Helens on the map, but also to have a major positive impact on the rest of Merseyside and the North West in terms of the significant economic and cultural benefits it will bring. This transformation is particularly poignant given the history of the site itself.


This unprecedented project just goes to show that hopes and dreams really can come true, and in spectacular fashion, when we all work together with a shared vision towards a common goal"


Steve Thornly, Cheetham Hill Construction, Dream Site Manager: "I'm very proud to be involved with the project. It's something I'll look at when I drive down the motorway in years to come and think I was pleased to be involved."


The School Council, Willow Tree Primary School: "We thought it was magnificent."


John Whaling, Dream Project Manager & Economic Development Manager, St.Helens Council: "The project represents a "Holy Grail" in regeneration terms - a manifestly successful, high impact, transformational initiative of potentially international significance, on a poignant, prominent, former colliery site, delivered via a multi-layered partnership with the active, direct involvement of the local community, and the star of a major national TV series!


Dream is an object lesson in the art of the possible. What we have achieved is a form of alchemy - transforming an old slag heap into a new regional icon and visitor magnet. The challenge now is to realise a worthy and sustainable legacy to build on this success"


Marian White, member of the Shining Lights Heritage Group: "This day is the conclusion to three years of the Sutton Manor community coming together and working hard towards seeing our dream come true! It's not only a celebration of all our traditions from the past such as the Whit Walk procession, crowning of the May Queen and the colliery bands but the launch of Dream also symbolises our hopes and aspirations for the future."


Shaun Woodward, MP for St.Helens South: "I would urge you to take a walk up to see the statue. It is a lovely walk and you will be greeted by a spectacular piece of work that I think many will come to love, not just in St.Helens but right across the country."