Funded by Arts Council South West, HS Projects undertook a research project in 2004 into cultural initiatives to support the urban regeneration plans for the city of Plymouth.
The project assessed the level of interest and involvement in the visual arts within the Plymouth business community both past and present, identified business organisations that could contribute to the cultural initiatives in support of Plymouth’s regeneration plans and established the grounds for such initiatives to happen.
An outcome of our project’s research established that most of the businesses we initially surveyed were curious about how the contemporary visual arts could support their business aims and objectives. Following post survey follow-ups, a viable proportion of surveyed businesses understood how the contemporary visual arts can make an invaluable contribution to achieving their aims and objectives.
The research project identified avenues for the corporate sector’s involvement ranging from developing a programme of workshops for their staff and the community, to sponsoring art events, starting a corporate collection, establishing an exhibition programme, establishing an arts club and setting up a corporate community arts trust. While ensuring that the potential to engage the arts, business world and local community of Plymouth was maximised, the project also outlined a best practice model for communicating big ideas to businesses while maintaining the highest standards for the contemporary visual arts.
During the project we consulted with: Plymouth City Council, Public Art South West, Arts & Business South West, Plymouth City Airport, Urban Splash, Plymouth Gin, ABP (Associated British Ports), Marks & Spencer, Lloyds TSB, Wrigleys, SWEB and P&O Developments, amongst others.
Under the BAA Art Programme for their head office collection at Wilton Road, London, we were appointed to commission a series of artworks by emerging artists to reflect BAA’s core values, culture and public image.
Over the period of 1994-1998, we commissioned a number of works, from Sharon Ting’s multi-layered textile work for the Marketing Director’s office; Kate Blee’s richly pigmented dyed textiles; to Keith Roberts’ commission of an airside view of Heathrow Airport with the old control tower in the background for the Board Dining room; and Sandra Blow’s final designs for her monumental glass screen ‘Flight Structure’, conveying an abstracted marshalling and movement of planes at Heathrow Airport.
We were appointed by the River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames to deliver an artist brief for a portait commission of Olympic rower and world champion Sir Steve Redgrave for the museum’s main entrance.
Following a selection process, we commissioned Justin Mortimer who had recently earned extensive publicity with his portrait of Queen Elizabeth depicting her head floating away from her body against a yellow background. Mortimer spent time with Redgrave, shadowing his gruelling training regime. The painting is a study in concentration, will and commitment. By depicting the subject floating on the canvas, Mortimer glorifies the Olympic rower.
We commissioned ‘Sir Steve Redgrave’ in 1998 on behalf of the River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames and funded by the Edington Charitable Trust.