Winners of Willenhall arts competition announced

Rob Swain, building surveyor at Whitefriars (centre front) with students and staff from Coventry University’s School of Art and Design 



Monday, 12 May 2014 

Winners of a £25,000 arts competition aimed at raising community spirit in areas of Coventry have been revealed.

Whitefriars Housing teamed up with Coventry University’s School of Art and Design to run the competition for students to design totem poles and tiled sculptures to be displayed across Willenhall and Willenhall Wood.

The winning designs were chosen by local residents who voted for one group’s tiled toadstool, made up of photographs and drawings collected from local people, and a toadstool totem pole, decorated with brightly coloured resin mushrooms.

The students involved in designing the winning sculptures, Mary Anna Fowler, Diana Blaga, Aiden Richardson and Molly Hyland, will now see their design built at the University and installed in Willenhall and Willenhall Wood. They will also be awarded with £1000 of prize money on the completion of their sculptures. 

Mary Anna Fowler, who has also designed a third sculpture to be built in Willenhall, said: “Being involved in this live project has been the perfect opportunity for me to build up work experience as I look to make a career change.  The project has given me an insight into the real world challenges and practicalities that must be considered when designing public and community arts.”

This project is part of Whitefriars’ £11million investment in the areas which aims to make it a place where people are proud to live and work.

Craig Barber, foundation course director at the School of Art and Design, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to work to a live brief which can benefit the community. 

Rob Swain, building surveyor at Whitefriars, said: “As part of the improvements programme that Whitefriars is investing in around the city, we chose to extend the programme in Willenhall and Willenhall Wood as there is such a high sense of community here.

“Trying to support local talent, we approached the Coventry School of Art and Design at Coventry University for the art projects. We feel that this gives them a unique opportunity and we wish all of them the best of luck.”

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