Giant rugger balls unveiled around Rugby town - The Rugby Observer
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14th Aug, 2022

Giant rugger balls unveiled around Rugby town

Rugby Editorial 5th Oct, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

RUGBY is showing off its balls – and its artistic talent – with five new sculptures to celebrate the town and the sport during the Rugby World Cup.

Three local artists who met at Rugby Art College have masterminded the project – funded by Rugby Borough Council – inviting Rugbeians to decorate the huge 6ftx4ft concrete rugger balls which are now dotted around town.

Kate Thomas, Leanne Gilroy and Ann Crearie – better known as art collective Kookooshaboo – say they are delighted at the response to the town’s newest public art, interest in which has come from far afield.

Kate said: “We were interviewed live by the main South African news network, ABC. They interviewed Ann and I live at 6 o’clock in the morning. They’d heard about it and wanted to know more. So we were on their main national news!

“The response has been really positive. Every day there’s people taking photographs, smiling and touching them – everyone seems to want to touch them.”

Describing the inspiration for the project, Leanne said: “Our goal was to bring the different communities in Rugby together to create something artistic to celebrate the game and the town of Rugby.

“We want the world to know Rugby’s Got Balls.”

Rugby Borough Council culture spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “Kookooshaboo has worked with hundreds of residents on this innovative project, creating unique pieces of public art which celebrate the town’s status as the Proud Home of the game.

“The sculptures have quickly become a popular photo opportunity for visitors and residents alike, and promise to provide another legacy of the town’s Rugby World Cup celebrations.”

Each sculpture features a unique design – with the ball in Caldecott Park decorated with the thumb prints of 2,100 primary school children from across Rugby.

The sculpture at the town’s railway station, created by Rugby College art student Eleanor Slaney, has an intricate henna design complete with a red rose, while the sculpture in Chapel Street features a collage of school children’s drawings inspired by both the game and the town.

The Fanzone’s sculpture has Mondrian-style geometric shapes and includes quotes and messages from residents who attended the Trophy Tour reception at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Kookooshaboo’s Leanne Gilroy designed the fifth and final sculpture outside Rugby Library, which draws together images of Rugby and the game, and features the flags of the nations competing at the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has launched a children’s adventure trail based on the project, called ‘I’m Going on a Ball Hunt.’

Children who complete the trail can enter a draw to win a prize. Trail guides can be picked up from Rugby Visitor Centre.

The sculptures will be taken down and auctioned off for charity after the Rugby World Cup ends on October 31.

Visit www.kookooshaboo.com and www.ragm.co.uk for more information.

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