Pennywell Living to be inspired by art project | Community Housing | Edinburgh

Pennywell to be Inspired by New Community Art

Together with the City of Edinburgh Council, award winning regeneration specialist Urban Union has appointed North Edinburgh Arts to deliver an engaging Art Strategy as part of its work at the Pennywell Living development in Edinburgh.

The strategy has community engagement at its core and will deliver three distinct outcomes: inspiring hoarding panels, a Creative Community Chest and new Pennywell Heritage/Art Trail.

Lead Artist Ross Macrae will kick start the strategy alongside a series of invited guests, who will create 10 engaging panels incorporating wayfinding and local icons to the existing hoarding around the Pennywell development. A key strand of the strategy is community engagement and local young people will have the opportunity to attend masterclass sessions with Ross and the guest artists where they will demonstrate skills and techniques in spray painting and other mediums. The workshops and artwork creation have been running since April and are expected to continue into August.

With £3,000 available through the Creative Community Chest for micro projects across the North Edinburgh Arts membership area, local charities and constituted groups will also be able to apply for one of 10 grants of up to £300 which will be used to deliver creative content for the local community. The Creative Community Chest will be managed by the One City Trust and open over the summer.

The final element will be the introduction of a heritage/art trail for Pennywell. Appointed through an open call, the selected artist will create and deliver six permanent artworks in and around the Pennywell area. With the aim of enhancing local pride, the artworks will become meeting points, way finders, conversation starters and points of connection. Local residents are invited to get involved in the process which will commence in September 2022 and over the following 12 months will include 24 engagement activities for all ages, culminating in the installation of the art in August 2023.

Neil McKay, Managing Director, Urban Union, said: “We have been an active member of the local community for the last eight years and we are pleased that our public art strategy for Pennywell is now in place. The regeneration that has already taken place in the area will only be further complemented and enhanced by these plans which will bring wider benefits.

“The key to making these three distinct programmes a success will be the involvement of the local community. The art which will be created needs to reflect the rich social heritage of the area and the character of the communities who live and work in and around the Pennywell area.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the local community as our Phase 3 works progress and to seeing their ideas come to life through the unique opportunity that our Arts Strategy will provide.”

Councillor Jane Meagher, Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “There is going to be so much to enjoy in North Edinburgh this summer. This programme is a real celebration of local people and all of the regeneration which has taken place.

“We’ve supported significant investment in Pennywell and Muirhouse, with new green spaces and a civic heart, brilliant sport and culture on the doorstep and plans for new community hub – plus of course hundreds of much needed, quality, affordable and social homes. It’s one of our 20 minute neighbourhood projects and you really can see the area flourishing.

“What’s been so special throughout this redevelopment is that residents have been really involved, with projects empowering people to reconnect with their area and initiatives to welcome new neighbours in. North Edinburgh Arts has been central to this and will now help us to bring permanent artworks to the area, which local people will also shape. We can’t wait to see the entries.”

Kate Wimpress, Director, North Edinburgh Arts, said: “North Edinburgh Arts has worked with Urban Union over the last eight years bringing creativity and community to each stage of the development. This has ranged from one off craft workshops, and arts activities for young people, to the development of temporary play spaces, and the permanent, much loved, Butterfly Garden on Pennywell Road. With support from Urban Union and the City of Edinburgh Council this current set of projects allow us to tap into local interests, expertise and enthusiasm once again and we look forward to sharing the results and the pride of our place with local residents, neighbours and visitors alike.”

Urban Union is developing 134 new homes and apartments as part of Phase 3 works at Pennywell Living and has been working in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh Council since 2014 to regenerate Pennywell, creating a vibrant residential area.

The extensive development is the result of a major investment of £42 million by The City of Edinburgh Council and includes £7.9 million grant funding from the Scottish Government. The project is part of the wider Council led regeneration of Pennywell and Muirhouse which has seen over £100 million invested in new homes, infrastructure, retail and community facilities.

To find out more about any of the initiatives, please contact