Completed Catch Art project creates a buzz around Tamworth

A community project to transform a series of bus shelters across Tamworth has now been completed, thanks to the help of local artists and around 700 school children.
Residents and visitors can now ‘Catch Art’ as well as buses at seven shelters which have been given bright, colourful makeovers as part of a Tamworth Borough Council project to bring art to all areas of the town.
Part of the Arts in Unusual Spaces initiative – funded by Arts Council England - the bus shelter project has been led by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team in partnership with Vic Brown of Art Recruitment Tamworth.
Vic called in professional artists Simon Wingfield and Helen Martin and the three of them went out into local schools to work with children on bringing the bus shelter designs to life. As well as the chance to work with professional artists, hundreds of children can now see their work displayed pride of place for all to enjoy.
The final shelter in the project was recently completed in Fontenaye Road, Coton Green, marking the end of a successful initiative. This shelter design was led by urban artist Helen Martin who spent three days working with pupils at the Kettlebrook Short Stay School.
The school’s art and design subject co-ordinator, Jo Potter, said students enjoyed working with Helen and seeing their work on display.
She said: “A huge thank you to Tamworth Borough Council and to Helen Martin for the exciting opportunity of participating in such a worthwhile project. It was great for students to work with a visiting artist and be involved in a ‘live’ project.
“Kettlebrook students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it has been a privilege to witness the sense of pride and boost of self-esteem that the project has facilitated.”
Kettlebrook Short Stay School students also gave their views on the project.

Ellie said: “I am really glad I got to work with Helen and I am proud that others can walk past my work in the street and enjoy it.
Zac said: “The project was brilliant and I really enjoyed meeting Helen the artist and learning new art techniques. I think the bus shelter looks amazing and I hope people enjoy it.”
The shelters can be found at:
Glascote on Sea, B5000 Glascote – Beach Hut design by children from Little Learners in Amington together with Simon Wingfield, Vic Brown and photographer Alex Blaby.
Tree Stop, Fossdale Road – A tree scene with insects by children from Three Peaks Primary School and Stonydelph Nursery, together with Vic Brown and Simon Wingfield.
Glascote Academy Community Farm, Silver Link Road – By pupils from Glascote Academy and Glascote Heath Pre-school, with Vic Brown and Simon Wingfield. This shelter was inspired by the Glascote Academy’s own on-site farm.
Tam Modern, Fontenaye Road – Pupils from Kettlebrook Short Stay School worked on this art gallery-inspired theme with urban artist Helen Martin and Vic Brown.
Flipside, Kerria Road – 1970s living room design by artist Simon Wingfield
Wild About Tamworth, Peelers Way – Inspired by the nature found at the adjacent Tameside Local Nature Reserve. This shelter by Simon Wingfield won recognition from the Royal Horticultural Society as part of this year’s Tamworth in Bloom campaign with a ‘Greening Grey Britain’ award.
Butterfly, B5000 Stonydelph – A butterfly-themed shelter by artist Helen Martin.
The Catch Art project has received lots of positive feedback from the children and teachers involved, as well as the wider community, especially via social media. It was also featured on Midlands Today.
Commentators on Facebook include Richard Brown, who said: “I absolutely love them! I live near the butterfly one and I have to admit that I tend to ‘miss’ the first bus just to enjoy it a bit longer. You can really feel the pride the Tamworth community have for the amazing stops. Can you imagine how awesome the town bus stops would look if they were all painted!”

Sarah Holmes said: “Absolutely brilliant, love that it’s all artwork by children, fantastic idea.” Alan Faultless said: “The kids will love that on their walk to school in the morning,” Anthony Perks added: “Brilliant! Brightens the roadsides up, great art, good vibes.”
Vic Brown of Art Recruitment Tamworth, which also organises the popular annual Urban Arts Festival at the Castle Grounds skate park, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team on this project and we are really happy with the final results. At the start of the project we agreed the stops needed to be artistically inspiring, but also fun and unique. Judging by all the kind words on social media and from passers-by, I think we have achieved this.

“The best part of the project for us was working on the school stops; they are all fantastic. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the project and especially all of the school children.”

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “This has been a really successful and imaginative project that has helped take art out into all corners of the community while giving local school children the opportunity to work with professional artists and see their work on public display.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the funding from the Arts Council England, which likes to support initiatives that encourage community participation in the arts. The feedback has been amazing and my congratulations go to the Arts and Events team, Art Recruitment Tamworth, the artists and of course the hundreds of school children who have created beautiful works of art for all to enjoy, out of some tired and plain bus shelters.”