Helen Taylor and Sarah Manton wanted to create an attractive and interesting floral trail to improve the streetscape in general and encourage potential customers to visit, stay and spend. They decided to go about this by joining art and horticulture, Articulture. Improving the physical appearance of the area will change the way people feel about where they work and breathe new life into the Creative Quarter.
The project started in the summer of 2013 when Helen Taylor and Kathy McArdle had a ‘walkabout’ within the Creative Quarter to look at the existing green space and areas that might be improved with some urban greening. Helen has a passion for horticulture and the benefits of green space in urban environments and wanted to find ways of ‘greening’ the area. This led to discussions about a possible project and Kathy introduced Helen to artist Sarah Manton (who was similarly passionate about improving the area with art and floral delights) for them to think about collaborating on an urban greening project.
Sarah and Helen discussed the potential for a project over a number of meetings and came up with the name Articulture. They planned the project together with Kathy over the winter of 2013 with a view to launching it in the spring 2014.
They launched the project with the wildflower bed installation and visited retailers with their floral gifts.
Since the project started they have had a very positive response. Businesses have enjoyed participating and seeing the response of customers to their efforts. The area looks more attractive and businesses seem to be benefiting from the addition of flowers, plants and art within the Creative Quarter. There is definitely a knock on effect as businesses see the improvement in foot-fall that can come from just putting a few plants and flowers inside or outside a space.
Helen thinks that the project has been a success as it has managed to help businesses in the Creative Quarter improve their spaces and encourage visitors to retail and hospitality in the area. Helen and Sarah have engaged with all different typed of businesses and encouraged them to participate.
They have been working with Nottingham City council environment and street teams and with their help they have had commercial bins moved and shutters closed to reduce unwanted behavior. They have persuaded BT to paint their telephone box and Royal mail to paint their post boxes at the top of Carlton Street which has vastly improved the street scene.
They have been involved in 3 ‘in bloom’ walkabouts and enjoyed showing the judges around the area.
They have commissioned street artists to create some lovely bespoke Articulture art for businesses.
They have improved some of the unpleasant areas by planting them with wildflower turf and planted up tree pits with bedding plants.
All of the pubs have been happy to have their hanging baskets supplied by us and The Old Angel has had its planters filled with bedding plants that are still looking lovely.
Helen thinks the best thing about the project as a whole is the sense of community that is felt when out and about. It has helped to make the area much more attractive and driven changes that might seem small but that are significant and noticed by the community.
The opportunity for the team to meet some very interesting business owners and work with them to improve the area.
Helen said that surprisingly the planters at the Old Angel are possibly her favourite part of the project because she was just so pleased that Sean the landlord was happy to have the boxes planted and also because it was such a lot of work to plant them using a scaffolding tower.
Of course she has enjoyed seeing the art and planty installations created by the artists and horticulturists such as the rum bottles at the rum house.
Another of Helens favourite thing about the project was meeting and talking to all different types of business owners who all have the same goal that is to make the area more attractive. Seeing more opportunities for people to connect with nature in the Creative Quarter.
At the end of the project they hope to see an improvement to the retail area of the Creative Quarter by the introduction of attractive floral and artistic displays, improvements to the streetscape. Helping businesses to encourage visitors to their shops, cafes and bars by keeping the outside of their premises looking attractive.
To create a sense of community in the area and communicate with businesses that may not have interacted with the creative quarter before. For the project to be seen as a success and as something sustainable to build on next year. To drive momentum in the area in encouraging businesses to keep displays looking good. To facilitate opportunities for artists and horticulturists to be involved in the project and for their work to be appreciated.
Overall Helen thinks there is scope to undertake some work in the autumn to continue to the project with some bulb planting, winter planted objects and Christmas preparations whilst evaluating this year’s project and planning for next year.
Articulture bed now on the streets!
Other Articulture imagery