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An exciting public art project, which is seeing dynamic street interventions installed in towns across Warwickshire, has a new webpage for those interested to follow progress and find out more.

The ‘Our Spaces’ project (www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ourspaces) is using a series of commissioned art installations to help reinvigorate public places in both urban and green spaces across seven towns in the County.

Warwickshire County Council have been working with place curators, Creative Giants, and specialist art fabricators, Factory Settings to select and support a cohort of artists to design and deliver an installation for each place.

Following a period of intensive design work with the artists, Factory Settings will now be fabricating the creations over the coming months and updates on their progress will be posted on social media as each piece comes to fruition.

The project has been structured in such a way, so that the less experienced creatives are supported and mentored through the technical design and fabrication stages by the two experienced delivery partners (Creative Giants and Factory Settings).

Simon Vaughan from Creative Giants said: “Smaller fledgling artists can find it difficult to break into public realm work due to the complexities of designing and building works for these spaces so the structure of this project has enabled us to bring forward some really strong but less experienced creatives as well as more established artists and give them the opportunity to build their portfolio in this area which is amazing.”

An outline of each of the locations, artists and their design concepts can be found on the new webpages and in summary are as follows:  

·        Atherstone:  ‘Husly’ by toyStudio. A contemporary sculptural seating piece.  

·        Bedworth: ‘Ribbon for Bedworth’ by Nuneaton born artist, Paul Channing.  A sculptural steel ‘ribbon’ over one of the waist-high planters in the heart of the town centre. 

·        Leamington Spa: ‘Down by the river’ by north Warwickshire artist Spencer Jenkins - a beautiful, functional sculpture close to the River Leam and opposite the Spa Centre.  

·        Nuneaton: ‘Weave’ by Grant Radford of Accent London - a piece of street architecture which comprises a seating area with a cyclical undulating form echoing Nuneaton’s rich silk ribbon weaving heritage. 

·        Polesworth: ‘You belong here’ by Coventry based artist, Edie Jo Murray - a structure which invites people to sit, lounge, lean or lie. 

·        Rugby: ‘Rugby Butter Stones’ by Architects Studio MUTT - a ‘micro’ park on Rugby High Street, meant as a meeting point, a place to socialise and rest with benches and planting.   

·        Stratford-upon-Avon: ‘We Shadows’ by Ruby Road Productions – a structure which invites young people to lie, sit and dream.  

Cllr Martin Watson, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economy and Place and CWLEP board director, said: “Art and culture play an increasingly key role in the vitality and vibrancy of our places, affecting how that place defines itself and is seen by others. The aim of this exciting initiative is to help create that sense of place, and ultimately encourage more use of these places which is a key part of the County Council’s multi-pronged strategy to support economic recovery.  

“The project has also been an opportunity for seven artists, designers and creatives to get invaluable experience working on a collaborative project, from initial idea, through to functional street intervention for a public space. Each artist/designer has responded to a site-specific brief, as well as the overarching project themes of connecting green and urban space, community voice and identity.”

Helen Peters, chair of the CWLEP’s culture and tourism business group, said: “This project is reaching a really exciting stage where the stories and designs behind each piece can come to light as the fabrication process begins. Stories are a central part of place branding, and these wonderful installations all tell their own unique tales which can be interpreted by the visitor in many ways. Not only is the project supporting its local economies in each town but also the wider creative sector as it seeks to support and develop both early career and established artists.”

The project is funded with £194,000 from the Government’s Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and £150,000 from the County Council’s Place Shaping Fund.

The installations are expected to be in place for up to four years but could potentially be adopted and remain in place longer. The selection panel to choose the artists was led by Creative Giants joined by a guest producer from Coventry City of Culture Trust, as well representatives from Warwickshire County Council, and the district and borough councils.

To find out more visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ourspaces.

Published: 23rd May 2022