Kirklees Council announces first commission of Dewsbury Blueprint public art programme

Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme has officially been launched by Kirklees Council with the announcement of its first commission with local artist Saba Rifat.

The £200,000 arts programme which has been funded by the Council is part of its Blueprint initiative to revitalise the town centre.

The arts programme which will run for three years will include a wide range of permanent and temporary public art interventions at various sites across Dewsbury. It will also aim to provide residents, businesses and community groups with an array of opportunities to engage with art and get involved in the commissioning process.

The innovative project will be delivered in partnership with arts organisation, Beam. It aims to enhance the overall physical experience of the town centre for residents and visitors, whilst supporting the local creative industry. It’s also envisaged the programme will promote positive health and wellbeing amongst the community as well as providing a valuable platform for local emerging artists to showcase their skills.

The programme’s first commission will be undertaken by Dewsbury visual artist Saba Rifat which will see a new art feature in the underpass under Rishworth Road. Saba takes inspiration from nature, science and traditional Islamic patterns to create unique pieces of work. For this commission, Saba will be taking inspiration by exploring urban surface patterns in the town centre and asking members of the public to get involved with the project by finding and creating their own patterns.

Saba Rifat said “The town centre is rich with a wide range of patterns which reflect our heritage and cultural diversity. It’s so important that these are incorporated into the underpass design so we can all appreciate the wonderful community we live in. I’m delighted to be involved with the Creative Town Arts programme and it’s a great honour that the underpass project will be the first commission to be completed as part of the programme.”

Kate Watson, Principal Consultant at Beam added “We’re thrilled to have Saba on board with the project and we’re looking forward to seeing the commission evolve over time. We’re asking the general public to be a part of the project by getting out and about and seeing what inspiring patterns can be found in the town centre to help create their own patterns – a great activity for families to do whilst getting some fresh air.”

Councillor Peter McBride, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “I’m delighted we’re taking another step in our ambitious Blueprint plans to rejuvenate Dewsbury town centre. The Creative Arts Programme is a wonderful opportunity for local artists, creatives, the public and our businesses to get involved to bring artwork, colour and energy to public spaces.

“This is just the first commission of a longer term programme of permanent and temporary artworks, and I’m looking forward to seeing Saba’s finished piece in situ.”

Further information and downloadable activity sheets are available HERE.

Anyone wishing to get involved with the project can share images of the patterns found in the town centre on social media platforms using the hashtags #creativetown #Dewsbury.

Also as part of the Blueprint and in close vicinity to the underpass, the council is due to start improvements on the area outside Dewsbury’s Library on Railway Street in March 2021. This will see the space around the library improved with quality paving, new lighting, seating and signage that will encourage people into the area.


For information about three artist commission opportunities click HEREDEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 9am Monday 15th March.

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