New 'micro park' installed in Rugby town centre as part of art project to reinvigorate public places - The Rugby Observer
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18th Aug, 2022

New 'micro park' installed in Rugby town centre as part of art project to reinvigorate public places

A ‘MICRO park’ inspired by Rugby’s 19th century architecture has been installed in the town centre as part of an art project to reinvigorate public places.

Rugby Butter Stones, created by architects Studio MUTT, comprises benches and planters divided up by slabs of rock.

The stones and patterns in the piece are inspired by many of the town’s historic buildings designed by gothic revival architect William Butterfield, such as Rugby School and elements of St Andrew’s Church.

The name ‘Butter Stones’ refers to ‘butter crosses’ – historic market town structures where butter was once sold on market days.

Rugby Butter Stones – at the junction of the pedestrianised Market Place, Sheep Street and High Street – is designed to be similarly flexibile by providing a place to sit, socialise and meet.

Planting will take place over the coming months, and the potential for community activities has already attracted the interest of local groups in the arts and cultural sector – as well as the community of St Andrew’s Church, which has promised some surprise additions.

The installation is one of seven such projects to be installed in Warwickshire as part of the Our Spaces initiative to reinvigorate town centres across the county.

Once in place, each piece will be followed by a range of activities to help build conversations and interest.

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has been working with place curators Creative Giants and specialist art fabricators Factory Settings to select and support a collection of artists to plan, design and deliver an installation for each place.

Simon Vaughan from Creative Giants said: “Smaller fledgling artists can find it difficult to break into public realm work due to the complexities of designing and building works for these spaces, so the structure of this project has enabled us to bring forward some really strong but less experienced creatives.”

Coun Martin Watson, WCC’s spokesman for Economy and Place, said: “It is fantastic to see all of the Our Spaces installations reaching the stage where the public can visit them.

“The project is giving residents and visitors in some of our towns new and interesting ways to explore and enjoy their spaces.

“Art and culture play an increasingly key role in the vitality and vibrancy of our places, affecting how that place defines itself and is seen by others.

“The aim of this exciting initiative is to help create that sense of place, and ultimately encourage more use of these places which is a key part of the council’s strategy to support economic recovery.

“I want to say a big well done to all the creatives involved who have brought their visions to life and everyone who has worked hard behind the scenes to make the ‘Our Spaces’ project a reality.”

Helen Peters, chair of the culture and tourism business group at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “Supporting towns across Warwickshire is important for the local economy and the Our Spaces project has allowed us to do just that. The seven installations bring a unique story to each town, encouraging people to visit and spend time enjoying everything the towns have to offer.”

The Our Spaces project is funded with £194,000 from the Government’s Getting Building Fund through the CWLEP and £150,000 from WCC’s Place Shaping Fund.

The installations are expected to be in place for up to four years but could remain in place longer.

Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ourspaces for more information about the Our Spaces installations and project.

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