The Arden Quarter public art is unveiled

The new public art in the Arden Quarter in Stratford-upon-Avon has been officially unveiled.

One of the Arden Quarter street mosaics

The new public art in the Arden Quarter in Stratford-upon-Avon has been officially unveiled.

Cllr Daren Pemberton, Acting Leader and Place Portfolio says: “These are such a unique set of art works, showing some of Stratford-upon-Avon’s cultural highlights.  They provide colour and interest for visitors to the town on their journey to and from the railway station and also the new residents in the Arden Quarter development.”

Last year, Stratford-on-Avon District Council invited artists to provide proposals for the development and installation of a single artistic piece, or a series of pieces, to be installed as ‘pavement art’ in Station Approach Arden Quarter, Stratford upon Avon.

A total of 36 expressions of interest were received and following a detailed assessment, three artists were asked to submit their design proposal.

These submissions were presented and judged and the artists were interviewed by a panel of four made up of District, Town and County Council Councillors for the Hathaway Ward and Orbit.

The winning submission was from Rob Turner, an artist from Herne Bay in Kent, whose series of five large mosaic panels were favoured for their historic and heritage variety.  The designs showed that Rob had spent time in Stratford-upon-Avon especially researching in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Archives to source the information for his pieces.

Rob Turner, Artist, said: “I wanted to draw attention to the vision the stakeholders and partners on this project have had regarding ‘Public Art’ as having such an important and high-profile contribution to the success of the new development of the Arden Quarter. I have enjoyed researching, designing and making these interpretations of Stratford-upon-Avon’s rich history.

“While working in the street installing these mosaics, I had many conversations with both visitors and residents of the town and have been overwhelmed by the interest and positivity towards Stratford’s heritage, which these mosaics have initiated.”  

The artwork, costing £25,000, has been funded by developer contributions (Section 106 monies) from the Arden Quarter development on the former cattle market site.

Craig Prestidge, Senior Contracts Manager at Orbit, said: “Our Arden Quarter development will offer 189 homes for sale, affordable rent, shared ownership and retirement living for people aged 55-plus and we hope that all our customers will enjoy having this unique artwork on their doorstep. The artist has really captured the essence of Stratford and we are delighted to support this artwork which will leave a lasting legacy of Stratford’s proud history for current and future generations to enjoy.” 

The District Council, Warwickshire County Council and Orbit worked together with consultants ATI Projects of Alcester to select the area for the piece of public art – the busy local pedestrian route from the train station into the town.

About the mosaics

  • Each mosaic is made from unglazed ceramic mosaic tiles and is 1.5m in diameter.  There is also a perimeter ring around each mosaic of dark charcoal grey paving sets.
  • The artist used Warwickshire County Council’s recommended grounds works company, Pro Surfacing Ltd to prepare the site for installation.
  • Each of the mosaics took one month to make.
  • The mosaics were installed over a 10-day period in October.

 Details of the mosaics

  • The Cattle Market
    This used to be on the site of the Arden Quarter.  The cattle market was an important aspect of the town’s early development.  The mosaic shows a Drover about to cross the river into the town bringing his livestock to sell at the cattle market.

  • Stratford’s Historic Spine
    Many of the town’s most important and historic buildings are sited along this famous feature of the town.  The mosaic is an early map of the town.

  • The Stratford Canal and River Avon
    These were key to the town’s industrial growth.  The mosaic shows the famous Toll House, Clopton Bridge over the River Avon and the canal basin.

  • The original Memorial Theatre
    This burnt down in March 1926 and was redesigned by Elizabeth Scott and completed in 1932.  It is now home to The Royal Shakespeare Company.  The mosaic shows the former earlier gothic theatre before the fire.

  • The Riverside Heritage Trail
    The building of the railways in 1860 shifted the industrial focus of the town away from the riverside, allowing it to develop for leisure activities.  The mosaic shows Shakespeare’s grave inside Holy Trinity Church, the unique chain ferry and the famous swans on the River Avon.