New community art project commissioned for Houghton Regis

  • Central Bedfordshire Council has commissioned a permanent piece of artwork for the ground floor lobby at the new Independent Living Scheme - All Saints View in Houghton Regis. 

The London-based artist, Emily Tracy, has been selected to produce this display - which is set to be unveiled in December 2022. Emily specialises in site-specific installation and public art projects so is the perfect fit for the job. Emily will be asking the residents of Houghton Regis: ‘what do you hold dear?’ and use these suggestions in the collection of items which reflect Houghton Regis stories, creating a community piece of art called: What Do We Hold Dear? 

Your Suggestions, Please
The community will be asked to focus their suggestions around the history of Houghton Regis and any objects which are significant to the residents; young, old and those from passed generations. Its installation will be accompanied with audio recordings accessed by QR codes made through conversations and reflection. 

 Over the coming months, Emily will be out actively engaging with the local community, seeking inspiration and knowledge from those who know, and love, Houghton Regis. 

Councillor Eugene Ghent, Executive Member for Housing and Assets at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This work will add character and vitality to the neighbourhood and will be enjoyed by all those visiting or passing through. We want people to live their best lives and feel artwork very much feeds into this, observing art creates a feeling of happiness and enhances wellbeing.”

Cllr Ghent continued, “It’s clear Emily is throwing herself into this project, hoping to do those fond of Houghton Regis proud. This is evidenced by such moments as recently when Emily spotted an old, distinctive teapot on eBay with ‘Houghton Regis’ displayed on it; she was determined to win it, as she thought it could feed into the plans in some way. Emily did win the teapot and is now thrilled that it can feature. This is just one example.”

Contact will be made with Houghton Regis Heritage Society (HRHS), as well as local schools and the community, as it takes shape. 

Once the community engagement has taken place, Emily will start selecting, sorting, and arranging the photographs, artworks, and sound recordings into an artwork of graphic frames. These will be printed onto laminate and arranged on the wall to resemble a personal collection of pictures and objects.

Get Involved with Emily's Carnival Appearance
Central Bedfordshire Council would like to invite you to take part at Houghton Regis Carnival - 9 July 2022. Come down and meet the artist and find out about the project. Explore some objects and share your stories on your favourite keepsakes. Emily will be located next to the Houghton Regis Heritage Society stall.

Public Artwork on the Woodside Link

Anthem for the Road is a sound and image composition created as public artwork associated with the Woodside Link (A5505). It is painted as a blue sound wave on the wooden acoustic barrier over a stretch of 800 metres on both sides of the Woodside Link. The painting represents a sound composition created using local recordings. 

You can push a button to listen to the actual sound, at the junction of Sandringham Drive and Windsor Drive. Many local people contributed to Anthem for the Road by recording their own favourite local sounds, using mobile phones or other devices. See our article which addresses criticism of this public artwork, and play the sounds for yourself.