January 14, 2020
The Happy Streets festival and redesigned Thessaly Road underpass in Nine Elms has been shortlisted for a national award!
The Hearts for the Arts Awards 2020 shortlist has been announced with Wandsworth being shortlisted twice by a panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners.
The National Campaign for the Arts awards shortlisted the Thessaly Road bridge and celebratory Happy Street Festival in the category of Best Arts Project – Community Cohesion.
Also chosen was Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for Community Services and Open Spaces, Cllr Steffi Sutters, shortlisted in the category of Best Arts Champion – Councillor for her work promoting local arts.
The annual awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts, often within a climate of severe financial challenges.
‘Flying the flag for arts’
Cllr Steffi Sutters, Wandsworth Council spokesperson for Community Services and Open Spaces said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the work we’re doing in Wandsworth to bring arts and cultural activities into the heart of our communities and make them accessible to residents of all ages.
“It was particularly rewarding to see the pleasure and excitement on on the faces of our young people during the Happy Streets project in Nine Elms when we listened to their views and transformed the local railway underpass using colour and light, and then celebrated it with a family festival which brought the community together.
“I’m determined to keep flying a flag for the arts which contribute so much to our quality of life and well-being here in Wandsworth.”
Part of a package of work to improve the public realm around Thessaly Road in Nine Elms, the bridge and festival project was developed through engagement with local residents and nearby St George’s primary school to ensure the local community can help shape their neighbourhood as it continues to undergo major change.
The Nine Elms area of Wandsworth is fast emerging as a cultural hub with recent events including Art Night and Light Up Nine Elms attracting thousands of visitors and residents. Cultural institutions including Matt’s Gallery and World Heart Beat are also making the area their home.
‘Happy Street made me smile’
Discussing the Happy Streets nomination, the Hearts for the Arts Awards panel said: “This project made me realise what drab surroundings we put up with. And the potential good design has to brighten our liminal and often forgotten spaces.
“The council’s willingness to take the risk, the weighty talent of Ilori, and the push for this project from the community all came together at the right time. On Ilori, his work has that rarest combination; it’s exceptional but not exclusive. Happy Street made me smile.
“A fantastic outdoor festival, which in real partnership has really helped to improve the environment for the people of Nine Elms.”