Pushers and Junkies
Urban Splash and the Arts
Successful regeneration is not all about bricks and mortar. Making successful places means understanding the value people bring, the role of artists as pioneers, the role of designers as facilitators and the role of every Tom, Vic and Hari in building a vibrant community.
We have always been enthusiastic art pushers and committed design junkies, because pioneering creatives deliver intangible value to the places they inhabit.
For almost three decades we’ve collaborated with artists and designers to feature their works within our buildings and places.
1998 — St Peter's Church, Liverpool
‘Tu Es Petrus’ by Norbert Attard
1998 — Tea Factory, Liverpool
New Contemporaries touring exhibition
2004 — Timber Wharf, Manchester
Cow Parade featuring Norman Foster and Will Alsop
2005 — Rotunda, Birmingham
Belgian performance artist Benjamin Verdonck lived in a nest in Birmingham’s Rotunda, as part of the city's Fierce festival
2006 — New Islington, Manchester
‘Our House’ by Len Grant, sponsored by Urban Splash.
As well as hosting art, we love to restore it and, upon completing the iconic Art Deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe, we unveiled the restored ceiling fresco and a stunning relief by Eric Gill.
“We’ve always had an aversion to the kind of art that is placed on a plinth as a planning obligation. We don’t need telling to be keen commissioners and supporters, we see artists as fellow innovators and we see art projects and artworks as an integral part of community - they should add to the sense of place, to the enjoyment and engagement in the spaces people share.”
— Jonathan Falkingham
2016 — Park Hill, Sheffield
The Brutalist Playground by Assemble and Simon Terrill
2018 — Royal William Yard, Plymouth
Squiggly Wiggly the Giant Squid by Mordavaga
2009 — New Islington, Manchester
Bird House by United Creatives
Our passion for art has led to a lot of like-minded organisations flocking to inhabit our spaces, creating communities of creative individuals inspired by what is happening all around them.
The Screaming Gander contemporary art gallery is located on the ground floor of Chips, with recent exhibitions including the ‘Ancoats sunsets and swimsuits’, first shown in late 2015.
The arts movement at Royal William Yard has peaked in recent years with the arrival of Ocean Studios – a collection of spaces for artists and events opened by the Tate’s Sir Nicholas Serota. Providing a space to create for the city of Plymouth, the studios provide unique and affordable studios for artists, whilst importantly engaging local people with the arts.
Art has also been intrinsic to our Park Hill development in Sheffield since day one thanks to early works in 2009 by graffiti-artist Kid Acne, and then by Gary Hindley who created huge canvases of original residents of Park Hill in the concrete frame windows of the building.
As we’ve created our neighbourhoods around the country, we have been fortunate to work with more inspiring and creative people, finding innovative uses for our homes as arts hubs.
At Port Loop, MAIA has transformed a three storey town house into a new venue for creatives from black and under-represented communities in Birmingham.
Port Loop also played host to the vibrant play out ‘til tea event in 2019, where more than a thousand people flocked to join a day of creativity and arts.
And at Irwell Riverside in Salford, we worked with the arts council to create the paradise works art space adjacent to our Town House homes. The new studio in East Philips street, Salford was created following demand from local talent for more creative space. Boasting an intergenerational group of over thirty artists, it includes emerging and established creatives who work across all media with the exhibition space hosting an ongoing programme of critically engaged exhibitions, film screenings, projects and events for the whole community.
And we have continued to collaborate with artists in other Urban Splash neighbourhoods. In 2021 at Park Hill we unveiled the Park Hill plinths. Working with create partnerships – a Sheffield based independent collective - a series of new artworks are now in place, providing play areas, street furniture, street lighting, sports facilities and early years outdoor learning settings.
In spring 2021 we also teamed up with Plymouth artists together to host a Graffiti jam for local artists and the civic skate community resulting in some vibrant artworks at our civic centre. In January 2023, we teamed up with Creative Concern in the city to install a series of light installations at Plymouth Civic Centre; the installation was commissioned by Plymouth Culture, in partnership with Plymouth City Council and funded by Historic England through the Heritage Action Zone programme.
This ongoing use of art has helped Urban Splash create more than just homes and workspaces; it helps us put culture and creativity at the heart of the communities we develop - something that we’ll continue to do in the future.
If you’re an artist, performer; an inspiring creative with brilliant ideas, get in touch to see if we can make any of our spaces around the country work for you.
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