Innovative town centre public art project gets support from artists and makers.
Artists and makers from across Warwickshire have responded to the call to take part in an innovative public art project led by Creative Giants, in collaboration with Warwickshire County Council and the region’s five district and borough councils.
64 artists have submitted expressions of interest to the Warwickshire ‘Our Spaces’ project which will see eight public spaces across the county reinvigorated with unique pieces of public art.
The initiative is designed to help create a sense of place, and encourage shoppers and visitors to the county’s high streets and town centre spaces. It’s part of the County Council’s multi-pronged strategy to support economic recovery.
The locations for the art installations are: Polesworth, Atherstone, Coleshill, Nuneaton, Bedworth, Rugby, Leamington, and Stratford.
A selection process is now underway which will choose a shortlist of 16 artists to go forward to the next stage of the process.
Leading the selection panel is Creative Giants - a specialist art-led project management team and studio which has worked with artists to create installations for Glastonbury Festival and Coventry City of Culture. Joining Creative Giants on the panel is a guest curator from the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as representatives from Warwickshire County Council, and the district and borough councils.
The project is funded with £150,000 from the County Council’s Place Shaping Fund, and £194,000 from the Government’s Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The next phase of the process will see the shortlisted artists go through a series of interviews and workshops to test and develop their ideas, which will result in the final choice of eight artists.
The eight successful artists will be carefully matched to one of the sites - each with its own unique brief created by Creative Giants and informed by the opinions and stories about the towns, provided by local people who took part in a recent survey.
The artists will be mentored by Creative Giants to work with a specialist delivery contractor who will design, build and install the installations in each of the towns.
The installations will be temporary and are expected to be in place for up four years.
Cllr Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place said: "We are delighted so many local artists have responded to the opportunity to take part in this exciting project which will transform public spaces across Warwickshire and help to create vibrant and attractive places for people to visit. Businesses and communities are working incredibly hard to adapt to the impact of covid and this project is one of many initiatives to help support their efforts.”
Simon Vaughan, Managing Director of Creative Giants, said: “The response from local artists has been fantastic. It's really exciting to have such a strong response from a great range of artists, architects and designers. The selection process is going to be really enjoyable but definitely difficult to pick just 16 for the shortlist - there are so many interesting and talented people who responded that we would love to work with in the future, and we can't wait to see the final 8 unleash their creative vision across the county!”
Helen Peters, chair of the CWLEP’s Culture and Tourism Business Group and CWLEP board director, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to help transform towns across Warwickshire which, in turn, will help to boost our economic recovery from the pandemic.
“Innovation is one of the key themes running throughout the CWLEP’s Strategic Reset Framework and these artists are undoubtedly showing plenty of that through this project which has certainly caught the imagination of the creative sector.”