A project by artist Jack Foulkes and Open Theatre Company, produced by Imagineer Creative Producer, Beth Allum. Jack is developing his idea for a playful city art work, after winning a City of Culture 2021 development award through The Heart of England Foundation.
Jack is a young artist with a learning disability who has worked with Imagineer for over four years, through the company’s young people’s training project. Over the years, Jack has developed as an artist and last year created the concept and design for Jack’s Frogs.
Jack’s Frogs is inspired by the River Sherbourne, a river in Coventry that is due to be uncovered in 2021. Jack imagined that when it is uncovered, hundreds of frogs will jump out and hide all around the city. As part of this, Jack has designed a frog sculpture, and a frog trail around the city, that people will be able to engage with and find the hidden frogs.
Working with both Imagineer and Open Theatre, Jack is being supported to develop this idea and turn it into reality. Funding from City of Culture 2021 has allowed us to create models and prototypes with a professional model maker, which culminated in a a launch event at the Herbert Art Gallery. Local artists and producers interested in the project were able to hear Jack present his work and contribute their own suggestions.
Jack continues to work with producers and artists at Imagineer and Open Theatre to bring his frogs to life, through his sculptural piece and public art trail. Jack hopes to have his sculpture situated in Coventry city centre for 2021, the City of Culture year.
Currently, Open Theatre and Imagineer are in conversation with Historic Coventry, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, City of Culture, Severn Trent, Arts Council, and Coventry City Council, about realising the Jack’s Frogs project.
We are looking at various sources of funding, to be able to conduct a feasibility study with Jack and an engineer, to finalise designs, structures and materials, as well as make to scale models and liaise with appropriate decision makers in public art.
Jack, in the meantime, has been registered with City of Culture as a local artist, giving him the opportunity to take up commissions that are offered throughout the city.
During lockdown, Jack has also been developing his skills as an artist; working on his drawing and painting, as well as staying in contact with our community of artists at Monday Night Makers, over Zoom.