Seed of Change officially unveiled at Banbury Rise

A new 2 metre high ‘Seed of Change’ artwork designed through collaboration with more than 600 school students in Banbury during Covid-19 lockdowns, has been unveiled at Bloor Homes’ Banbury Rise development, and the developer has confirmed the final 9 homes are left for sale there in 2023.

As part of the company’s Section 106 (S106) commitments supporting local community and infrastructure in Banbury, Bloor Homes, in conjunction with Cherwell District Council, commissioned Planet Art – professional artists Julie Edwards and Ron Thompson to create the artwork and run a series of design workshops online, with local schools - William Morris Primary School, Orchard Fields Community School, and North Oxfordshire Academy.

Students were encouraged to submit their designs for a sculpture ‘inspired by Banbury’. The theme ‘new beginnings’ grew from there, and when the consultation was opened up to Banbury residents via a dedicated Facebook page, the project inspired entries from the wider community too.

The artists then produced conceptual designs and the public were invited to vote via the Facebook page on which one should be made into the final artwork.

Julie Edwards said: “The Seed of Change sculpture incorporates some of the wonderfully creative ideas produced by the pupils at all three schools. The challenge for us to intricately replicate these in both the design and making of the sculpture. The surrounding landscaping and seating, provides a wonderfully peaceful place for all to enjoy. This has been a lovely project to work on and we hope it provides residents at Banbury Rise with both a functional and lasting focal point for many years to come.”

Launching the artwork, Bloor Homes held two events with school children from William Morris Primary School and Orchard Fields Community School to reveal the sculpture in place, against a backdrop of green open space for all the residents to enjoy.

Steve Roberts, Managing Director for Bloor Homes’ Western region, said: “It has been fantastic to see the local community getting involved with this project at Banbury Rise to provide a lasting sculpture as a focal point for the new development.  We love the new artwork and are really pleased with how well it has been received by everyone.”

Cherwell District Council manages ‘Oxygen’ (Cultural Education Partnerships) to enable schools and young people to engage with art and artists. Paula Bailey, Community Development Partner – (Arts) for the Council, said: “The funds allocated through the planning system had to be used for a work of art and I was really pleased that we were also able to facilitate remote design workshops that directly involved students at the local schools even during the Covid lockdowns. The result is a unique artwork that is very personal to the community and has really caught the imagination of local residents.  It is great to finally see it in place.”