Stonewater teams up with schoolchildren to create public artwork in Leeds

Leading housing provider Stonewater has teamed up with local schoolchildren to create eye-catching public artwork as a focal point for a new affordable housing development in Leeds.

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Final Mosaics Installed At Cookridge House

The three colourful mosaics, featuring images reflecting the area and its history, are the latest pieces of art to be unveiled at Cookridge House, in Horsforth.

Stonewater and contractor Vistry Partnerships developed Cookridge House by regenerating the old Cookridge Hospital, a grade II listed building, into much-needed homes for local people.

They transformed the derelict 19th century hospital into 24 flats and town houses, as well as building another six houses around it – all for social rent or shared ownership.

Stonewater also worked with the neighbouring Lighthouse School (for 11-19-year-olds with an autistic spectrum condition) on the public art project, organising workshops with local historians and a mosaic artist to design and make the murals.

Frances Taylor, Mosaic artist, said: “This was such a great project and I’m so pleased to have worked on it. The students and staff at Lighthouse School were involved in the design and also then attended workshops to make the actual mosaics. The process involved researching local history and wildlife, both of which feature in the final three mosaics.”

The mosaics complement a range of other artwork commisoned for the scheme, including a decorative metal archway and bench by a Yorkshire sculptor and an information lectern about the site’s history.

Stonewater is committed to working with local communities and featuring public art at its new developments and recently launched its first-ever public art competition – the George Blunden Public Art Prize – to find a talented artist to produce creative artwork as a focal point for five new schemes it is building over the coming year.

As part of its links with the school, the housing provider discussed its regeneration plans with pupils, raised awareness about construction careers and funded installation of baffles in the hall to improve the acoustics for students more acutely sensitive to noise.

Chris Montague, Director of Development (North and East) at Stonewater, said: “We are thrilled to see this hugely successful mosaic project come to fruition, despite the upheaval of lockdowns and Covid restrictions over the last year.

“It has been wonderful to see the students get so involved to create these beautiful pieces of art, which can be enjoyed by our Cookridge House residents now and long into the future.”

Sally Dexter, Employability Manager at Lighthouse School, said: “We are so grateful for the amazing opportunities that this project has brought us, thanks to Stonewater. The mosaic project has been fantastic, getting pupils super-engaged and inspired.

“Unveiling the mosaics now has meant such a lot to us, as it has given staff and students a feeling of venturing back into the community post-Covid – so it has been a massive and much-needed boost.”

Stonewater provided each pupil with a thank you card with photos of the finished piece of art, as well as a gift bag, featuring a mosaic coaster kit – as a thank you for their ideas and contributions.