New Riverside frog artwork in Bedford spawns debate

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A £20,000 piece of artwork called The Frog has spawned criticism after people have mistaken it for a chunk of builders’ hoarding.

Instead of finding the new Riverside Square sculpture absolutely ribbeting, perplexed viewers have been peering over it trying to find the actual frog.

But, to avoid any confusion and the public becoming hopping mad, the T&C can solve the mystery.

Artist William Rounce has explained the word frog is a term used to describe the indentation in a brick. And his artwork is designed to portray the brick-making heritage of Bedford.

“I have used both the convex mould of the brick and the concave ‘frog’ to create a visual illusion. Different people will see a different perspective,” he said.

As well as prompting artistic debate, the vivid yellow, pink and purple structure serves a more practical purpose – to hide an ‘ugly” electricity sub-station.

Erica Roffe, from Bedford Creative Arts, said: “The Riverside developers commissioned a piece of artwork to hide the sub station.

“The result was The Frog. It was paid for by the developers so it hasn’t cost the taxpayer or the council a penny. We just hope people enjoy it,” she added.

The Frog will be unveiled as part of the official opening of Riverside Bedford tomorrow (Friday) and artist Mr Rounce will be on site on Saturday to meet the public and answer questions.

But already many members of the Facebook group, We are Bedford, are not impressed.

One wrote: “I can’t see any ‘art’ in this I’m afraid. It looks like a temporary boarding around building work. The square would look better with a lovely flower bed.”

Other comments included “hideous”, “ugly, “looks like Lego” and “is it an anti-terrorist thing?”

But, according to Erica, all comment is good.

“Art is meant to provoke debate. It means people are looking at it and thinking about it. That’s a good thing,” she said.

“And if nothing else, it makes people think about the alternative meaning of the word frog – which brings us back to Bedford’s rich heritage in the brick-making industry.”