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In commemoration of the centenary of William Morris opening the first car factory in Cowley in 1913, and Mini Plant Oxford’s active engagement with the local community, Fusion Arts worked with artists Kleiner Shames, Emily Cooling and Julia Roach to deliver a series of intergenerational participatory workshops to create celebratory artwork. A large collaborative painting, carnival banners and some characteristic painted cars, which became part of an ongoing wall mural at Mini Plant, were created to illustrate the car production history of the city.
Make Your Mark aimed to involve all members of the community to celebrate Mini Plant Oxford’s “Our Reputation” activities. Families, for instance, were invited to attend two open workshops at the Quality Engineering Department at the Mini Plant, led by artists James Lorraine-Smith and Emily Cooling, to work on the near life-size cut-out painted cars. The finished cars were then displayed alongside the banners and bunting at the Cowley Road Carnival in South park, at which there was another painting workshop led by artist Julia Roach to create a painting of the actual Carnival in action.
The cut-out cars also raised awareness of the thousands of jobs the Mini Plant had secured for workers in Oxford over the years, which was only increasing at the time with its new expansion for the production of the newest Mini model.
The mural, which brought to life the impact of the car industry for Oxford, remained on site for two years, after which the cut-outs were salvaged and re-located within the plant when the building work for the expansion was completed.
More artwork was also created at Mini Plant Oxford’s Family Day: the Carnival Painting and a Mini Mosaic artwork as part of the Plant’s ‘Outdoor Gallery’ along Spine Road.
Fusion Arts work with artists, groups and communities from across Oxfordshire and beyond to support a variety of imaginative and socially engaged projects.
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