Leeds shopping centre art project is a crowning glory for schoolkids

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A Leeds art project created to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday has proven so popular that organisers have arranged to keep it on display at a city shopping park for weeks to come.

Crown Point Shopping Park worked with a group of local schoolchildren to produce the giant bejewelled crown, which went on display last month in the middle of the roundabout at the centre’s entrance to mark the monarch’s landmark birthday.

Although the installation was meant to be for just 10 days, the response from shoppers has been so positive that shopping park bosses asked Leeds City Council to let them keep it on display into the summer. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the Crown Point crown,” said Jay Heath, Crown Point marketing manager. “Within hours of it being installed, our social media lit up with people praising the work of the children, and as the weeks have gone by we’ve seen an increase in the number of people visiting the park to see it first-hand,” she said.

More than 100 Year 5 and 6 children from Ingram Road Primary School worked with artists to make the various colourful ‘jewels’ to adorn the 5ft by 4ft metal crown. “Each of the jewels actually depict images on the theme of birthdays, royalty and Britain,” said Jay. “We were delighted with how the finished item looked, and even more so when we got the reaction we did.”

Year-on-year shopping figures show that footfall has increased at the popular shopping destination each week since the crown was unveiled, most recently by as much as 35%. “We’ve had people say they were driving past and decided to come in to the park after seeing the crown from the main road,” said Jay. “It’s proving really popular with parents and children alike, and we’re so pleased that the work of these local schoolchildren has been so well-received.”

On social media, shopper Linda Sellers commented: “I love it! Now I know how to find Crown Point,” whilst Leanne Moss praised the work of the young artists, saying: “Well done guys great work! We had fun with the crown at work.”

And Joanne Mitchell added: “I love the crown. It makes me smile on my way into work at British Gas each morning. Well done Ingram Road Primary - it looks fab!”

Jay explained that following the public reaction, Crown Point had arranged with the Council to keep the crown on display for the foreseeable future. “Making the giant crown to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday seemed too good an opportunity to pass up,” she said, “but we had no idea it would prove such a hit with Leeds shoppers. We’re delighted we’re able to keep it on display for longer, making sure anyone who still wants to see it has the opportunity.”

Sarah Millard, headteacher of Ingram Road Primary School, said the children had thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the project. “We’ve obviously been discussing the Queen in school and the amazing achievement of Her Majesty becoming the longest reigning monarch in our history,” she said.

“Getting involved in this project enabled the children to help celebrate the Queen’s birthday in a unique and interesting way, and the fact that the artwork will be on display for everyone who goes to Crown Point makes it extra special,” said Miss Millard.