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Chiswick Police Station transformed by community art installation

The front of Chiswick Police Station has been decked in thousands of painted butterfly and flower cut-outs as part of a community art installation.

The project is run by volunteer organisation Abundance London and saw nearly 1000 butterfly and moth templates, and 2000 flower templates decorated and hung on the façade of Chiswick Police Station. 

Jeremy Vine was certainly impressed by the knock out effort from Abundance London

The installation was formally unveiled on 3rd October and involved thousands of children and adults from all over Chiswick, with artists, care homes and 12 local schools all contributing artwork to the police station front. 

Dr. Karen Liebreich MBE, director of Abundance London said: “The project is a work of art all together, and the smaller little individual butterflies and flowers are also works of art, like little jewels.

“One of the benefits of this project is that it has included children and grownups from four-year-olds to 80 and 90 plus.

“Both the kids and adults have produced really high-quality work.”

In addition to the nearly 3000 cut-outs adorning the police station, 50 templates were given to local artists to design and will be auctioned on Abundance London’s website with the proceeds going towards future projects. 

A local school girl helped hang the final template on the wall of Chiswick Police Station during the unveiling

The installation forms part of a broader initiative to reinvigorate Chiswick Highroad through public-realm horticulture, education, and art projects.

Liebreich added: “I think it brings some fun, colour and beauty to the winter months and I think we all need those three things.

“I want what was a fun project that thousands of people have enjoyed and benefitted from to stay up there and make the highroad a more fun place.

“Kids have been showing their parents and hunting for their template, which really is smashing.”

Dr. Liebreich stated that she and Abundance London’s Steve Nutt were inspired by a similar project in Easingwold in Yorkshire involving butterfly cut-outs that were draped from a tree and planned to supersize the concept.

Steve Nutt, 58, co-creator of the concept said: “The police station was a bit of an eyesore.

“We wanted it to look beautiful and we wanted it to be linked to the flower market, to have as natural a look as possible making it seem as though nature has taken over the police station.

“Everyone’s been really positive about the unveiling, and I think it looks stunning.”

A time-lapse showing the stunning work of Will Pearson being put up outside the Police Station by Abundance London volunteers

Nutt, along with Rory Ferguson, a theatre rigger by trade, worked for over four days atop a hydraulic scissor lift to fix the camouflage netting, butterflies, and flowers to the façade of Chiswick Police Station.

Local artists Tanya Saunders and Liz Butler, a member of the Royal Watercolour Society, both ran a collection of drop-in centres for people wishing to decorate flowers and butterflies. 

The piece also includes a panoramic scene of London from photographer, Will Pearson.

There were contributions from St. Mary’s Convent and Nursing Home, Help the Aged, and local schools including ArtsEd independent school, who decorated 100 templates, as well as Chiswick School, an academy, that decorated 300 of the templates.

The project follows on the back of an announcement made by the London Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime that Chiswick Police Station will be sold off, with the final officers expected to leave the premises by the end of October.

Liebreich said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to the Hounslow Council who helped us with a lot of the procurement and the Metropolitan Police who let us put it up.

“It’s community policing at its best and helps to enhance their policing, not damage it.”

Liebreich added that she would like to see the building retain some form of community function after the Metropolitan Police move on from the building. 

Hounslow Council allocated money for the project through the Welcome Back Fund, which was established in May 2020 by the European Regional Development Fund with the intention of reopening high streets and communities after the pandemic.

If you are interested in purchasing artwork as part of the fundraising auction, or in other projects that Abundance London are conducting, visit: www.abundancelondon.com or tweet @AbundanceLondon.

The exhibit is expected to be displayed well into 2022. 

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