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New City Landmark

A major Coventry landmark started to rise this week.

The Foleshill Ribbon Sculpture, which will stand on the roundabout at the junction of Phoenix Way and Foleshill Road, marks the start of a massive investment in the Foleshill area of the city, funded by local and central government and the European Union.

The sculpture, which will be 11 metres high, depicts three ribbons merging into one and spiralling skyward.

It has been designed to mirror Foleshill’s textile heritage and also symbolises the regeneration of the area. Fabricators will finish the 47,000 work in early November.

Marisa Gunn, of project managers Groundwork Coventry, insists the piece is far more than just a work of art.

She said:

"This really is a community project. More than 16 million are going to be invested into improving Foleshill and this is the start of that process.

"The community made it clear through the Foleshill Environmental Action Group they wanted a landmark that would help put the area on the map so people driving through would realise where they were.

"But just as importantly it marks the start of what is a very exciting time for Foleshill. The spiral is very much a sign of faith and optimism."

The sculpture is being principally funded by central government’s Single Regeneration Budget and a part of European Regional Development Fund targeting textile areas.

Specialist companies were asked to detail their ideas for a community arts project and the schemes were assessed by a panel, partly made up of local people.

The contract went to arts trust Freeform Arts that then held workshops with local schools and residents.

Designs were displayed to the public last November and the ribbon was the popular choice. It will be painted blue, a colour long associated with the city.

The sculpture has been made by Art Fabrications of Fenny Drayton, near Nuneaton. Andrew Langley of the company will be on site for about two weeks.

The Coventry University-educated artist said:

"We have built the structure and then taken it apart again so it could be zinc sprayed and painted.

"It has taken us about four or five months to build and is the biggest job we have done. It weighs around five tons altogether and will be a real landmark.

"The popular press often question what sculpture means, but this has come from the people and is for the people so there is no doubt. It gives a powerful message."

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CWN / Community / News / 20 Oct 98 / New City Landmark

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