Artists paint bollards in Winchester’s Brooks Shopping Centre

Christmas shoppers to The Brooks shopping centre in Winchester City Centre may be surprised to find local artists painting eye-catching bollards for the newly refurbished Square. 

The artists – Jenny Muncaster and Rachael Alexander –  will be located temporarily in Unit 40 of The Brooks next to Argos on the upper shopping floor.  The space has been kindly donated by the Centre’s Steve Gilbert.  Together the artists will be researching and creating the designs that they will then paint onto 17 bollards in the Unit from Monday 21 November to Friday 16 December, and then again from Tuesday 3 January 2012 until the February half term.

Members of the public who are keen to chat to the artists about how they came up with the idea for this project, how they select appropriate designs and what painting techniques they use are encouraged to pop by for one of the weekly ‘meet the artist’ sessions.  During these times,  the artists will be downing tools and answering questions from 10am to 11am every Thursday.  There is no need to book for the session, but the capacity is limited in the Unit.

The bollard project is funded by Winchester City Council as part of its wider contributions to the refurbishment of the High Street and Square in partnership with Hampshire County Council.  This project, first conceived in 2005 as part of the Hat Fair celebrations, has been a first for the UK, following in the footsteps of similar schemes in Australia, the USA and Europe. 

The Colour Factory has taken inspiration from some of the world’s greatest artists, adding an element of fun and interest to the city’s street furniture.  As part of the original bollard project, the artists painted nine bollards, drawing inspiration from the likes of some classic artists of the 20th Century, such as Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Sonia Delaunay.  These bollards are all being repainted, and new ones added, with designs inspired by Mondrian, Toulouse-Lautrec, Kandinsky, Hokusai and Picasso, with Lowry, Bridget Riley and Salvador Dali being some of the commissions for the New Year.

Jenny Muncaster from The Colour Factory said, “The response from the general public and local businesses has been fantastic, with visitors coming to The Square specifically to see the painted bollards.  Local businesses now see the bollards as distinctive landmarks advertising their company’s individuality.  Residents frequently call in on the bollards to see if any new designs have popped up, whilst for tourists they are an unexpected and amusing discovery. We are now receiving calls from private and business sponsors desperate to be part of the next bollard collection.”

Alison Woods, Acting Head of Economy and Arts at Winchester City Council, added, “Winchester City Council will also be working with The Colour Factory to give local community groups, starting with young people from The Carroll Centre in Stanmore, an opportunity to design their very own bollards. The Winchester Business Improvement District is sponsoring a bollard, and we hope that other businesses will come forward to claim a bollard of their own as part of this new programme, too.”

Cllr Victoria Weston, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Transport, said, “The joint scheme between Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council has given Winchester's historic Square a new look, with stone paving and high quality surfacing. The work included road reconstruction, replacing and upgrading drainage and then finishing with natural stone paving and resurfacing to make it more attractive for shopping and tourism, creating a shared space and limited access to traffic. These decorative bollards will enhance The Square and provide an improved café culture atmosphere to this popular location for residents and visitors alike.”