Shop fronts and walls in Thornton Heath are to get a lick of paint as the latest part of the multi-mllion-pound Disconnected Croydon exercise in superficiality run by our council.
Together with the You&Me firm of architects, the council is seeking applications from a handful of local artists. There’s a £1,000 fee available to each artist whose proposals get accepted, plus a budget to implement the work.
“The successful creatives will produce designs or artworks taking cues and inspiration from Thornton Heath, its history, past and present stories and narratives of the place and people, the local community. The different artworks will need to work individually and also as a cohesive whole, tied together by a colour palette and theme as specified by YOU&ME Architecture and Croydon Council, which will be explained in further detailed upon appointment,” the brief states.
This being part of the Disconnected Croydon project, which has managed to squander millions on not-very-well delivered, wider pavements, new kerbs to trip over at crossings, and the obliteration of cycle lanes, applicants might not be surprised to learn that no actual locations for the proposed artworks have yet been agreed – making the proposals from those artists applying all the more abstracted.
“Location of artworks will be confirmed at a later date once approvals from building owners have been given,” the council says. Without considering whether no building owners agree. Given the proliferation of bookmaker chains along the high street at Thornton Heath, the choice of building owners may be a little limited.
Along South End, where a similar scheme was completed last year, the shop fronts have indeed been much improved by the public-funded face-lifts. That most of the properties previously appeared run-down and neglected, and also shared the same landlord, in the hugely wealthy Whitgift Foundation, managed by agents Stiles Harold Williams, is probably only a mere coincidence.
The artwork there were confined to some colourful hoardings for long-vacant shops. The properties remain, stubbornly, unlet and unopen. If anything, the coloured hoardings have given a feel of permanence to the properties’ empty status.
In Thornton Heath, the council appears to have handed over all responsibility for the choice of artists and their work to the architects: “Creatives will be appointed by YOU&ME Architecture,” they say. You&Me have conducted a similar project in Tottenham (as featured in a piece of PR puffery here).
Deadline for expressions of interest is Friday January 15.
The full brief can be viewed here: Thornton Heath creatives leaflet
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