Public Art Unveil to Mark Regeneration Milestone

By on 09/02/2010 in News

When: 10.30am Thursday 11th February

Where: Junction of Soho Hill and St Michaels Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham

What: Local artist unveils public art sculpture specially commissioned to mark 10 years and £3m of regeneration work in Soho Road area.

To mark ten years of growth and regeneration of Soho Road, Handsworth, Birmingham City Council has commissioned renowned local artist Saranjit Birdi to create a unique, eye-catching sculpture which acts as a symbolic gateway to the area.

The sculpture reflects the contribution of all the people who make the area the success it is today; the local community, voluntary groups, businesses, traders and in particular its most valuable resource - the young people of Handsworth, some of whom have contributed creative and original coin designs to be incorporated into the sculpture.

Sited at the junction of Soho Hill and St Michaels Road, the sculpture emphasises the powerful effect of light and shadow cast by the sun; the inscription on the central 'coin of colour' reads: 'under the sun our shadows point in the same direction'.

Cllr Neville Summerfield, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “I am delighted to be part of the unveiling of this 'gateway' sculpture. Birmingham City Council has supported the  regeneration of Soho Road by helping businesses to expand or improve their premises, upgrade the quality of the environment, improve security and create conditions for sustainable development.

“From the community perspective, it highlights the talent of our children and that of the renowned artist, Saranjit Birdi. This is a magnificent display of creativity and art, and I hope that the sculpture will serve as a symbol of optimism and community cohesion.”

Saranjit Birdi, said: “I hope that the sculpture will appeal to all local people, young and old and serve as a symbol of community and global unity. It was particularly important to me that the sculpture expresses the joy of dance, which is such an important and shared characteristic of this multicultural community, and indeed of the orbital movements of our planets.”

Since 1999, when Birmingham City Council introduced the Soho Road Local Action Plan, there has been an extensive programme of regeneration to ensure that the Soho Road Local Centre continues to thrive and prosper. Over £3m has been invested in the area in the last ten years, through European funding and initiatives such as the SRB6 programme of investment and regeneration.

This commitment has provided real benefits, such as environmental improvements, grants to business properties and new, improved car parking. These measures have helped to increase business confidence and have established Soho Road as a centre of not only local, but national importance.

The council, with partners including Urban Living - the organisation committed to improving housing and local amenities in the area over the next 15 years - is continuing to promote regeneration. A 'Regeneration Framework' for the A41 Corridor, which sets out the vision for the future of the area including the Soho Road Local Centre, will be available for consultation in 2010/2011. The proposals aim to encourage further investment to ensure the long-term stability of the Soho Road, and its continuing contribution to the local communities it serves.

Ends

For more information please contact Simon Houltby on 0121 303 3503

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