art / Culture / Outdoors

Your art roaming our streets

23 February 2023

Last October we went along to Croydon’s LSBU (aka Electric House) for the launch of the Croydon Stands Tall project, delivered by Croydon BID in collaboration with Wild in Art. Croydon Stands Tall is an art trail which will take place over a 10-week period this autumn, consisting of gigantic giraffe sculptures dotted around our town centre, as part of Croydon’s London Borough of Culture programme.

On the launch night, we were introduced to the very first of the 30 giraffes, which was created by Rich Simmons. Now Croydon BID have put a call out for other artists to submit their designs to be in with a chance to customise the 29 remaining giraffes. The deadline for artists’ ideas to be considered is Wednesday 15 March. The 29 successful commissioned artists will all receive £1000 for their work. When the trail finishes the giraffes will be auctioned to raise funds for Crisis Skylight Croydon, so there is a double incentive for entering.

Croydon Bid are encouraging artists of all ages and backgrounds, both professional and amateur, to submit inspirational designs ranging from fine art to graffiti and mosaic to bring a variety of artistic styles to our streets. If that sounds like you, you can find out more and download the artist submission pack here.

We had a quick chat with Matthew Sims from Croydon BID to ask him a few questions about the project.

Croydonist: Do the artists need to live or work in Croydon to apply?

Matthew: Croydon Stands Tall is a celebration of art and culture and while we encourage local artists to apply, we are also keen for artists from outside the borough to be a part of this unique trail and experience. We want to make art accessible to everyone who lives, works, and visits our super talented borough. It is important to us that local artists are offered an opportunity to showcase their inspirational designs and art to the community and beyond.

Croydonist: We tend to associate giraffes with wandering about the plains of Africa, so why choose giraffes for Croydon, instead of something a bit more used to a rainy UK climate?

Matthew: It’s about what a giraffe represents to us, such as strength, aspiration, uniqueness, and pride; they stand tall and leave an incredible impression wherever they go.

A giraffe’s spots, for example, are unique, demonstrating diversity and exclusivity, much like the diversity in our local communities in Croydon.

Our goal is to draw people back into our town centre, bring smiles to faces. and support our communities, so we wanted to choose a symbol that would not only make a BIG impression, but that would also represent Croydon.

We are proud to draw the likeness of these incredible animals with the uniqueness and strength of Croydon. Together we can stand up, stand out and stand tall.

Croydonist: What are you most looking forward to seeing when the trail opens in the Autumn?

Matthew: It has to be the explosion of colour and vibrancy that each Giraffe sculpture will bring to the town centre landscape, transforming the look and feel of many of our streets almost overnight.

It’s incredibly exciting. It’s not every day Croydon will take delivery of 30 huge 8ft tall giraffe sculptures. It will be quite the spectacle drawing lots of attention. Art is emotive, creating conversation and debate. It is the coming together of friends, families, those who live and work here to enjoy all that Croydon Sands Tall has to offer.

Croydon Stands Tall and the London Borough of Culture should, and is, all about people as we celebrate Croydon’s cultural past, present and future.

Thank you to Matthew for the chat. And remember artists, get those designs in by 15 March and you could see your work ‘roaming’ the streets of Croydon later this year.

All you need to know in order to apply is on the Croydon Stands Tall website, and you can follow #Croydon StandsTall on Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Croydon BID: photos 1, 3 and 5 by Glenn Foster; photos in 4 courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo.

Posted by Julia

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