I set up Art under the Flyover in 2011 after I was invited by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association to explore creative ways that the local community could be involved in the regeneration of the Cumberland Piazza, a neglected former park space. My aim was to see if we could use art as way of bringing people together to talk about their aspirations and ideas as HCCA wanted to develop a master plan that combined greening of the site with people using it more. Sustainability was at the heart of the concept.
A lot of consultation and development work went on with locals behind the scenes for years. The site is managed by Bristol City Council Highways department and has numerous restrictions, but we eventually managed to create a plan which they could accept. More complex was funding our plan. We were runner up for 2014 Grow Wild funding competition, no money, but it did mean a partnership with BCC Conservation department and Bristol Zoo Wild Place, who maintain an interest in what we’re doing. We began to work incrementally to get around the problem of large scale funding and in 2015 I designed a colour scheme, in discussion with our commissioned artist Dave Bain for 71 of the pillars. I then engaged over 50 volunteers to help paint them. Dave and his team created a beautiful Hidden Forest Mural.Ray designed some planters with Bristol Wood Recycling Project and again, many members of the community came down to help assemble and plant. Young Bristol came and painted as part of their Do15 project
Local architect, Rachel Sara, attracted by the changes, adopted us as a ‘Live Project’ for her MA students at UWE and, after completing that project, we applied for Pocket Park funding from the DCLG. Collaborating with Thomas Sale and Luke Carnaby we designed and built a set of play sculptures that can move and adapt to form pitches, stalls and play spaces. We re-used all the wooden form work (much of it already re-used) to build more planters, and involved locals, especially teenagers, in the design. I also designed and painted a new mural with Amy Hutchings and Dave Bain to welcome people to play.
We now have a new Community Aspirations master plan, deisgned by Zoe Smith with Kerry Burton, in consultation with the Bristol Civic Society, which includes ‘light touch’ interventions, that are easily achievable and affordable, but produce maximum environmental impact, such as more tree planting, shallow ‘swales’ and a Living Wall.
We’re proud to announce an RHS 2016 Bristol in Bloom ‘It’s your Neighbourhood’ award for a ‘Thriving’ garden! Especially proud as we only use rain water and it is maintained by the community.
Art under the Flyover has it’s own blog site so you can read about what we’ve been up to over the year and find out about all the creative teams and individuals who been involved and the views of the community.