Inspired by the fast-flowing and bold visual environment of competing signs and signals that populate the busy intersection of Station Approach, Matthew Cornford and John Beck aim to create a vibrant illuminated sign attached to the Hereford College of Arts (HCA) halls of residence.

The artists have taken their cue from the way art schools historically announced their presence by prominently displaying the word ‘Art’ itself on the front of the building. 

In some way the artists are also advertising the power of art to inspire and nurture but also invigorate a community and play an important role in a system such as a town itself.

Utilising typefaces once used by Hereford College of Arts in its promotional literature, the word ‘ART’, in bold primary colours, will take its place among the competing signs of the neighbourhood, to call attention to the identity and purpose of the building, and mark out a place for art in the city. 

The commission will also further enhance the appearance of the hall of residence with a billboard featuring collaged letters to spell out the word ‘ART’, sourced from photographs of art school buildings in the West Midlands.

This year marks 170 years of creative education in the city, with Hereford now home to around 300 students studying on art and design degrees at Hereford College of Arts, and the same again studying at college-level.

Over that time, arts schools have played a vital role in producing some of the UK’s great thinkers, artists and designers. This project will form part of a year-long programme of events and projects celebrating that anniversary.

Through an ongoing series of exhibitions, publications, talks and events under the title The Art School Project, Beck and Cornford are exploring the history of Britain’s art school system, its regional variations, complex educational and political contexts, and vital cultural legacies. 

This is the second bold commission of public artwork at No.1 Station Approach, Hereford. It is one 15 projects that aim to make Hereford a greener, fairer, creative, digital, more connected city.

With support from HM Government’s Towns Fund to help Hereford blossom into a richly creative, digital, connected and highly-skilled place to live, work, study, visit and invest.

This exhibition is the first of the fifteen projects to be launched in the city thanks to the support of Stronger Hereford.

The previous commission featured the work of internationally-renowned contemporary artist Lothar Götz.

An associated engagement programme will reach out to residents, visitors, students, artists as well as the wider community to stimulate debate and showcase Hereford as a cultural destination.