Catalyst opens gates to budding artists at Dunstable development

Pupils at Weatherfield Academy have invited to design art for the gates outside Catalyst's new 61-home development The Printworks.
An aerial view of Catalyst's The Printworks development in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
Catalyst’s The Printworks development in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Credit: Catalyst

The London and South East housing association Catalyst is working with pupils at a special school to create a railing design for its development in Dunstable.

Pupils at Weatherfield Academy have been invited to work with local artist Wendy Briggs to design art for the iron gates outside Catalyst’s development The Printworks, inspired by the nature of Dunstable Downs.

The Printworks will make 61 homes available for affordable rent and shared ownership. It will also boast architectural features that reflect Dunstable’s stage coaching heritage as well as a community garden and green space for wildlife.

The aim of the project is to create a piece of public art that reflects the local area – an essential condition of The Printworks’ planning consent.

Andrew Almond, Catalyst’s managing director for new homes (Counties), said: “We’re delighted to involve pupils from Weatherfield Academy in this community project with local artist Wendy Briggs. The school is close to The Printworks, and pupils and their families may come to live and settle there.

“I was amazed by the detail of the designs that really bring the nature of Dunstable Downs to life. The discs the children have designed will be a memorable and meaningful addition to the new homes and to the town. A big thank you to everybody who took part.”

Working from home, pupils were challenged to each create their own design that would feature in discs on the railings either side of the Printworks’ gates.

All sixteen drawings the pupils created – which include images of birds, butterflies, flowers and trees – will feature on the railings, with the school’s name set to be included on each of the designs.

Briggs’ design will support the pupils’ designs by incorporating the colours of the school’s logo into the railings’ leaves, along with silhouettes of wildlife and flowers found on the Downs.

The final design for the gates at The Printworks will be officially unveiled later this year, with Catalyst hoping to involve the children in the event.

Joe Selmes, head teacher at Weatherfield Academy Special School, told us: “As a special school we were delighted to be asked by Catalyst to take part. Our pupils created many designs that will be used on the ironworks surrounding the new housing development at The Printworks. I look forward to seeing the designs as they are transferred to the iron railings.”

Briggs commented: “This has been a most wonderful project to work on. The students’ drawings were so inspiring. Their suggestions of specific wildlife, the winding foliage and the school colours all helped to shape the final design. I look forward to seeing the finished artwork in place and hope that local people will get much enjoyment from it.”

Catalyst is one of the UK’s largest housing associations, owning and managing over 32,000 homes in London and the Home Counties. It is a member of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations.

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