SOUTHAMPTON children are being given the chance to design a piece of public art.

The competition, set up by curators at a city gallery, will give young artists the opportunity to design a “colourful walkway”.

Open to all five - 11-year-olds across Southampton, the six winning designs will be turned into a walkway leading from Guildhall Square to the £30million arts complex Studio 144.


As reported the project was inspired by Southwark council’s colourful crossings.

But it caused controversy earlier this year - when city art bosses were criticised for spending money on road art instead of repairing potholes.

Now John Hansard Gallery curator Nadia Thondrayen says the project is a bid to bring art out of the gallery into the street.

She said: “We want Southampton children to feel a sense of ownership of their own city and to make spaces where they can be creative. It’s about inclusivity and making sure everyone is involved. We want contemporary art to be part of everyday life in Southampton. ”


Children are being asked to take inspiration from the everyday journeys that they make - to school, to a grandparent’s house or from trees, road markings, animals and birds they might see every day - or from the cars, cranes and buildings.

And organisers say it’s a chance for children to learn about abstract artists like Matisse and Mondrian while also teaching them about road safety.

Leader of Southampton Conservatives Cllr Dan Fitzhenry said: “It’s great to see our school kids helping to design art to promote the city, and that we are working with partners to do this. We must be mindful though that we use public funds as best we can whilst the council is proposing reducing services at the same time”.

Studio 144 North and South BuildingStudio 144 North and South Building

Application forms have already been sent out to schools across the city - but children can enter individually or as a group outside of school.

Each entry will receive a badge and a certificate for taking part with the grand unveiling of the six winning designs set to take place in Spring 2019.

Workshops for anyone who would like to get involved take place at the John Hansard Gallery on Above Bar on December 15 and 22. The closing date for entries is January 14.

It is understood the project is being paid for by Southampton City Council, Go!Southampton, Arts Council England and Southampton University at a cost of £18,000. The council is believed to be contributing £6,000. Council arts boss Cllr Satvir Kaur was not available for comment.