COLOURFUL and interesting bus shelters have started popping up across Tamworth as part of a community art project involving local artists and hundreds of school children.
Residents can now catch attractive art, as well as buses, at a 1970s living room bus shelter in Kerria Road, Amington, at a beach hut on the B5000 in Glascote Heath and at a Wild About Tamworth shelter in Peelers Way, Kettlebrook.
Further shelters will be revealing their bright new makeovers in the coming weeks, including a tree-themed bus stop in Fossdale Road, Stonydelph, a farm stop in Silver Link Road and an art gallery themed ‘Tam Modern’ stop in Fontenaye Road, Coton Green.
The ‘Catch Art’ project is part of the Tamworth Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative, which aims to bring art to all corners of the community, thanks to dedicated funding from Arts Council England.
For this project, Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team have joined forces with Vic Brown of Art Recruitment Tamworth, who also organises the popular Urban Arts Festival which takes place every year at the Castle Grounds’ skate park.
Vic has been working on the shelter designs with local artists and youngsters and has held a number of workshops in Tamworth schools, giving children the chance to work with professional local artist, Simon Wingfield.
To date, more than 500 children have contributed towards the shelters. Youngsters from Little Learners in Amington, Glascote Heath Pre-School and Stonydelph Pre-School made flowers for the beach hut scene, which was then brought to life by Simon, together with stunning photography supplied by local snapper Alex Blaby.
Simon also painted the Wild About Tamworth stop in Peelers Way and the 1970s living room in Kerria Road.
Pupils at Glascote Academy have been busy creating animals for their farmyard stop, which has been inspired by the school’s own on-site farm, while children from Three Peaks Primary School have designed insects which will be used to decorate the tree-themed shelter outside their school in Fossdale Road.
In the coming weeks, Simon and Vic will be visiting Kettlebrook’s Short Stay School to work with pupils on the Tam Modern shelter.
All the children are looking forward to seeing their artwork proudly displayed in the community for all to see.
Catherine Garey from Glascote Academy said: “The children and staff loved having Simon come to school and share his artistic skills. Thanks to everyone involved for organising such a fabulous project.”
A year 6 pupil at the school added: “It was really fun to be able to draw an animal from our farm and that everyone will be able to see it on the bus stop outside our school.”
The Catch Art project was launched this summer with the Wild About Tamworth bus shelter in Peelers Way, which backs on to the Tameside Local Nature Reserve and depicts some of the birds that can be seen there. It was prepared as part of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign and helped the town secure gold for an eighth year in a row in the regional Heart of England in Bloom contest, as well as winning recognition with a special ‘Greening Grey Britain’ award from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Although the shelter was damaged by vandals, the decision was taken to replace it with tougher steel and to repaint it again as part of the Catch Art project.
Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “Catch Art is a wonderful project designed to bring art to all corners of the town. We also wanted to involve the community and the participation from local school children has been fantastic.
“It will be so lovely for them to see their artwork being enjoyed by people who are either waiting for a bus or passing by.
“The project has been made possible thanks to additional funding secured by the Arts & Events team from Arts Council England, which likes to support initiatives that encourage community participation in the arts.
“This is a particularly lovely project because everyone benefits from all the hard work the children have put into this and we hope people appreciate how exciting it will be for them to see their work on display in this way.
“I’m really looking forward to spotting the Catch Art shelters when I’m out and about in the town in the coming weeks.”