National Express unveil first glimpse of Digbeth art project
National Express is inviting the public to preview a major public art project which will accompany the redevelopment of their Birmingham coach station.
The event, organised by EC Arts, will take place on 28 May at the Irish centre and is the public’s first opportunity to view a prototype of ‘boundary’ – the 180 metre public art which will surround the £15 million coach station, set to open in November.
‘Boundary’ has been designed by Midland artists Rob Colbourne and Stuart Mugridge and was inspired by elements of Digbeth’s industrial past including Midland Red and Avery Weights and Scales. Over 300 individual red steel haunches will surround the coach station and create the illusion of a solid wall which separates to reveal the copper clad building as visitors approach.
National Express has sponsored ‘Boundary’ as part of a three stage public art project based at the station, with additional contributions from Birmingham City Council – Big City Plan, Arts Council England, South Birmingham College and EBNS.
Clive Dutton, Director of Planning and Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, said of the ‘Boundary’:
“This is an early and brilliant visual project that relates to what the Big City Plan is all about. It’s great that we can polish the design for the new coach station and complement the £1 million environmental enhancement scheme; all that demonstrates our contribution to Digbeth, one of the real jewels in the crown of the city.”
The second stage of the public art will pay tribute to the region’s Irish links and will be situated at the entrance to the National Express station –visible to visitors arriving into the city by coach and train. Full details of the project will be announced at the open day on the 28th, including the name of the artist leading the project.
The final stage of the project is a 12 month documentary about the redevelopment of the coach station and the construction of the public art. It’s being produced by youngsters from the Voice of Aston community centre and the final film will be on permanent display within the finished station. Visitors to the open day at the Irish Centre will have the opportunity to take part in the film by giving their feedback on the project to date.
Claire Farrell, Arts Project Manager, explains:
“Since 1928 and earlier, Digbeth has housed a wealth of stories of both immigration and opportunity for people who were keen to embrace Birmingham as their home. For Brummies Midland Red provided the opportunity for families to have day trips or holidays to the countryside. The station will be an integral part of the regeneration of the area, we want to get local people’s views on the project and their memories of Digbeth. We hope to ensure that the visual changes to the area also embrace the unique history of both the people and the place.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Public art event is free, family friendly and will be held at the Irish Club, Digbeth on 28th May (half term) from 3pm until 8pm.
- The event includes:
- An artist-led workshop and talk on the three commissions for the Public Art Project
- A look at the prototype ‘boundary’ fence viewed by both day and night
- Visuals of the new coach station
- A time-lapse of the coach station site
- Free refreshments
The Public Art project is sponsored by National Express, with contributions from the Arts Council, Birmingham City Council – Big City Plan and EBNS.