Coventry graduate's art adorns new £22.5m health centre

University news / Business news

Monday 12 December 2011

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Modern art meets modern healthcare in Hillfields, as Coventry’s new £22.5m flagship health centre boasts state of the art facilities with award-winning art from commercial artist Kelly MacPhee, who has just graduated from Coventry University with a first class honours degree in Illustration and Graphics.

The City of Coventry Health Centre is fully operational from 9 January 2012, but opens its doors on Saturday 10 December from 11am to 3pm, to give people an idea of what the five-storey, multi-facility centre will provide. This is also the first chance people have to see the impressive wall art specially produced by Kelly MacPhee, which is integral to the internal colour palettes which will aid patients to find their way around the centre.

NHS Coventry and Coventry Care Partnership ran a competition open to students from Coventry University’s fine art, illustration, graphic design and photography degree courses. The brief was to create images that would enhance the interior of the facility, providing interest as well as helping people to find their way around the five-storey building. Each floor has been designed with a metallic colour palette reflecting Coventry’s industrial heritage. This metallic theme and the concept of the overall building architecture acted as the inspiration for the artworks.

Kelly MacPhee was chosen from eight submissions as the competition winner and awarded £2,000 prize money. She said:

My plan was to bring in a new element to each floor, something that could give each metal a bit more life. So I gave each floor a new element of my own such as nature, healthy foods and items made from the particular metals such as teapots and weights. I wanted to create imagery that could be looked at and enjoyed quickly when walking past, but also in greater detail for people when sitting and waiting for their appointments. From a distance it just looks like lots of shapes and patterns, but close up you can see some objects that you may not have noticed at first.

When I won the competition I was extremely pleased and really shocked to have had my work chosen for all five floors of the building. The prize money has been a huge bonus, and has enabled me buy various equipment to help start up my career as a commercial artist. My degree course at Coventry University has played a huge part in the way I produce my work. To make my designs I use paper cut-outs which are creased to give more texture, then photocopied with the lid up to enhance the light and dark areas. This was a technique which my tutor showed me in my final year, and it is from this technique that I have developed my own unique style of illustration.

Kelly’s artwork has been transferred onto vinyl wallpaper and displayed on large expanses of wall in the reception and waiting areas throughout the building. The designs will be in place for the next 25 years.

Frances Tobin, Arts Coordinator for the City Centre Health Facility, was part of the initiative and judging panel. She said:

The Digital Artwork Project has been a very successful collaboration with the University, giving students the opportunity to create inspirational artworks for the people of Coventry. The panel was looking for exceptional artworks that would excite visitors and staff alike, and the final submissions exceeded all our expectations. Kelly’s designs will be a great addition to the City Centre Health Facility, which is a striking, modern building both inside and out.

George Marsh, Chairman of the Coventry Care Partnership, said:

We were impressed with the high level and professionalism from the students at Coventry University’s School of Art and Design. We’ve enjoyed working with the University and hope to explore further community involvement with its staff and students in the future. The chance to have your work permanently exhibited for 25 years is testament to our commitment to supporting local artistic talent within our building.

The City of Coventry Health Centre is situated at 2 Stoney Stanton Road, Hillfields, Coventry, CV1 4FS.

For further information please contact Coventry University Communications Assistant, Cam Morgan, on +44 (0)24 7688 8245, or email