Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Prestigious UK award for stadium art project

An innovative Swansea arts project has beaten off competition from some of the UK's leading cultural attractions to win a major prize.

The vibrant artworks that line the walls of the city's Liberty Stadium won the JTI Arts and Business Community Award ahead of other shortlisted entries from the British Museum, The Hay Festival and London's Southbank Centre.

The prestigious national award is given to a partnership that encourages community engagement with the arts or has made a significant contribution to regeneration or sustainable growth.

Swansea's Liberty Stadium was recognised for a project alongside Pippin's Designs where star rugby and football players such as Shane Williams, Ryan Jones and Lee Trundle worked alongside about 1,500 local young people, youth groups and children with physical and learning difficulties to produce artwork.

Some of the artwork includes the autographed portraits of Swans and Ospreys players lining the Liberty Stadium walls that are now seen by over 750,000 fans a year.

Art experts also worked alongside players and local young people to put together paintings of the visiting Australian rugby team, Elton John and the Princess Royal.

Cllr John Hague, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, is a Director of the Swansea Stadium Management Company.

He said: "The calibre of this award can be illustrated by the other shortlisted projects. This community arts scheme has beaten off competition from some of the foremost cultural venues and attractions in the UK . Everyone involved in the arts scheme is thoroughly deserving of national recognition because the project has helped the stadium become a heartbeat of the community."

Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, is Chairman of the Directors of the Swansea Stadium Management Company.

He said: "The artwork that lines the walls of the Liberty Stadium has become a very popular feature of the venue that attracts a lot of interest from the thousands of rugby and football fans who attend games every week during the season.

"The arts scheme has helped raise the profile of the stadium and receiving this award will further heighten recognition of this wonderful facility across the UK."

Andrew Davies, General Manager of the Liberty Stadium who collected the award on behalf of the Stadium, said: "This is a fantastic achievement and I'm delighted for Jon and Sally Phillips of Pippin's Designs and all the individuals and groups involved in the project.

"This is after all a reflection of their hard work and, while we are delighted that their work has brought colour to the Stadium, the real achievement for us is the impact it has had on the young people involved.

"We hope that this award will be the platform which will allow the project to go from strength to strength."


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