Pigeon artwork takes flight in the heart of Cheltenham

Published on 17th July 2019

The 5 messenger pigeons that will be installed around Boots Corner

Tomorrow (Thursday 18 July) will see pigeon finials from Cheltenham’s old sign posts go on display around Boots Corner.

The pigeons, having been successfully exhibited at The Wilson art gallery and museum, are moving to the town centre as a taster of an exciting new art project and to act as ‘messengers’ for Cheltenham’s High Street. Some of the pigeons will have interactive QR codes for people to scan with mobile devices which will take users to the recently released A vision for Cheltenham’s High Street.

The council is looking to collect your feedback on this new vision, which you can give online or through paper forms in the foyer of the Municipal Offices.

Niki Whitfield, local art coordinator, says: “I’m delighted the public will get to see a selection of these art-enhanced pigeons. It will give people a taster of what could potentially become an extensive, town-wide trail – each created in a different style by a different artist living and working locally.

‘’It’s an interesting way to upcycle what was a historical emblem unique to Cheltenham, re-imagining and presenting it in different ways for a contemporary audience.”

Councillor Andrew McKinlay, member for development and safety, says: “Following a successful three week exhibition at The Wilson, I’m pleased to see this artwork being installed in the town which will hopefully engage everyone to have their say about how they might like to see the area develop. We’re pleased that artists with a connection to Cheltenham have taken up the challenge to reinterpret these finials to be enjoyed by our residents and visitors.”


For media enquiries, please contact: communications at Cheltenham Borough Council, telephone 01242 264154, email communications@cheltenham.gov.uk

Notes:
Pigeons have been part of Cheltenham’s history since the original spa was first discovered in 1716 when pigeons were seen pecking at salt deposits from a natural spring, showing off its special qualities.

More on Cheltenham’s history can be found within the Cheltenham History Collection at The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum, please visit https://www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk/collection/local-history.

The traditional iron signage around the borough first started to be replaced by modern ‘wayfinding’ fingerposts and maps in 2014. Pigeon finials were also recovered during this time, and eleven were auctioned, raising £1,895 for the mayor’s charities at the time.

Find out more about the pigeon exhibition earlier this year at the The Wilson art gallery.