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    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.

    St Peter's Church, Liverpool
    Tea Factory, Liverpool
    Timber Wharf, Manchester
    Rotunda, Birmingham
    New Islington, Manchester

    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

    Park Hill, Sheffield
    Royal William Yard, Plymouth
    New Islington, Manchester

    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.

    Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard, Plymouth

    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.

    Kid Acne, Park Hill, 2009

    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.

    MAIA Yard Art House at Port Loop
    Play out ‘til tea at Port Loop
    Paradise Works, Irwell Riverside, Salford

    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.

    Light installation at Civic Centre in Plymouth
    S1 Artspace at Park Hill, Sheffield
    Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard, Plymouth
    Grafitti Jam, Civic Centre, Plymouth
    Park Hill plinths, Sheffield

    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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