Art in the City
Coventry is constantly evolving, making positive and exciting changes to the city whilst continuing to showcase the inspiring history of the city. The people of Coventry are no exception when it comes to highlighting the culture, talent and community spirit surrounding the area, whether it’s through musicians, sports people or artists.
Earlier in the year, the Council called out for artists who were interested in working to help create art pieces that would be stitched onto the city centre ahead of the opening of the City of Culture 2021 and to create a legacy for local people.
The city chose spectacularly talented artists to create displays to inject colour and vibrancy to reflect the city and its people; The artwork will be displayed in and around the city and its neighbourhoods in unique spaces, inspiring conversation, creating a feeling of empowerment and telling the history of the city through its people and their talents.
The art that we are surrounded by, whether it's a painting, music or even videos, these can have a huge impact on our mood and emotions. ... All kinds of art can affect our mood in a positive way, making us feel happier, calmer, or even inspired to do something. Everywhere you go art is evident and that is evidenced by the artworks popping up across Coventry in unexpected places.
The art is intended to appeal and connect with human emotion. Artists may express something so that those who view the artwork is stimulated in some way—creating feelings, religious faith, curiosity, interest, identification with a group, memories, thoughts, or creativity and this is just one of the many reasons that Coventry have invested in this city-wide art movement.
The artistic movement across the city will provide many opportunities for people to explore their creativity, with more artworks on their way across the city, here’s where you can find the current additions:
In Paint We Trust
From May 2021, In Paint We Trust, a city-wide street art festival will see local, national and internationally renowned street artists given access to unique and unexpected spaces encouraging audiences to explore Coventry through new artworks appearing in unique spaces across the city centre.
A crossover with the Youthful Cities programme will offer an international exchange of ideas and work with Bogota, Columbia which will be led by local artist Jay Mckeown, Leicester’s Graffwerks and Columbia’s Vertigo Graffiti. Artists will be given opportunities to animate along pathways and walls giving audiences a chance to explore, so if you’re in the city, keep your eyes peeled for stunning pieces of art featured in and around the city.
The first commissioned piece in the In Paint We Trust programme has been created by David Speed – a multi-disciplinary artist who illustrates vibrant, playful pieces that he captures as a time-lapse. This is the first Street Art Strategy installation working with a national, London-based artist and it’s David’s first time working in our city of Coventry. The theme of the piece is HOPE, to link in with the City of Culture timeline and is situated on Coventry University’s Bishopsgate Student Accommodation.
Artist Morag Myerscough worked with Coventry City Council in order to breathe vitality into Hertford Street. The transformation of Hertford Street has seen bold expressions of colour and planting in vibrant and exciting colour choices to bring new life to the existing architecture.
The colours have provided a beauty to the architecture that have never been seen before, making the space brighter, energetic and powerful. Morag’s work has completely transformed the space by creating an engaging experience for all throughout the popular shopping area with inspirations from the stained-glass window by John Piper a the Coventry Cathedral and want for colour to the streets.
The artwork installed at the bus station is inspired by Coventry-based Victorian cycle innovator James Starley.
Poet and street artist Angry Dan put forward a design incorporating bright colours and an Ariel bicycle as a tribute to Coventry’s James Starley – widely considered to be the father of the bicycle industry. The Pool Meadow mural also contains a limerick, written by the artist: ‘His vision of life on two wheels, The people, alike, Can all ride a bike, And soon we’ll be head over heels’.
Photo of the Pool Meadow Art. Image taken by Tamsin Slater
The beautiful artwork found at Pool Meadow doesn’t stop there, there has been a new title artwork across the building, brightening up the space and breathing life into the space along with the other artwork installations.
It doesn’t stop there, a celebration of 2-tone music which originated in Coventry in the late 1970’s inspired by Jamaican ska music has now been completed at the Bus Station; a beautiful installation of mosaic art. ‘Ska’d for Life Mosaic’ has now been unveiled by artist Carrie Reichardt and a team of talented tilers to celebrate Coventry’s musical history.
Matt Chu, a professional artist and illustrator, who lives in Binley Woods, responded with an idea for a piece, entitled “At One with Cofa’s Tree”, which brings together elements of Coventry’s past, present and future. The walls of the Cathedral Lanes development facing on to Pepper Lane have been painted in various pastel colours to tie-in with the coming artwork.
The work began at the end of March and now the piece is complete, it has been complimented with a colourful makeover of the buildings having been transformed with bright colours and will also be home to an installation of living walls with plants and living greenery, set to be installed to separate the sequence of colours chosen by Matt across the buildings in order of colour temperature from warm to cold.
The Belgrade Theatre
The second piece of public art to be commissioned as part of the In Paint We Trust street art programme. Painted onto a wall outside the Belgrade Theatre overlooking the Belgrade Plaza fountain, the piece is dedicated to Ira Aldridge - an acclaimed actor who, in 1828, became Britain's first Black theatre manager when he was handed the keys to the Coventry Theatre. At the time, he was not yet 21, born in New York City at a time when slavery was still legal in the US and across the British Empire, Aldridge was a prominent activist in the abolitionist movement. After moving to Britain to pursue his acting career, he took the theatre world by storm with his powerful Shakespeare performances, taking on roles including Romeo, Hamlet and Othello.
The artist behind this spectacular 20ft mural, Dreph (Neequaye Dsane), aims to depict his subjects as present, empowered and self-aware, and his work has appeared around the world including in high-profile exhibitions at the likes of the Tate Modern. The mural is inspired by an original portrait painting of Ira Aldridge as Othello, painted by Henry Perronet Briggs in 1830, which is now part of the National Portrait Gallery collection.
Summer of Sunflowers
Featured on the side of O’Toole’s Café in Earlsdon, the giant Summer of Sunflowers Mural has been created featuring sunflowers, bees and leaves. The initiative has been set up recently to gather the community together by Katie O’Sullivan (Katie O Art), asking the community of Coventry to plant 1000 sunflowers this Summer to help fight isolation, bring people together and create new hope, creating the sense of togetherness that the community has lost over the past year in the pandemic. If you want to get involved, the Summer of Sunshine seeds are available at the Earlsdon Library!
Coundon Hall Park
The incredible mural by Katie O at Coundon Hall Park commissioned by Coventry Peace Orchard and Coventry Park Rangers with input from Cardinal Newman Catholic School students. The painting was sponsored by CovBID) as part of the Street Art Strategy "In Paint We Trust" project which forms part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.
The mural is on the external wall of the changing rooms at Tamworth Road car park and faces toward the Peace Orchard which is a 3-minute walk away from it.