Artist Invitation: The Show Windows
For Coventry 2021: City of Culture by Coventry BID

Coventry City Centre is a great place to live, work and play and are proud partners to Coventry City of Culture.

For 2021 Coventry Business Improvement District (BID) are launching a new creative strand to their city centre delivery for local businesses, shops, people and visitors. Part of our 2021 programme is The Show Windows, a project where artists and architects are exhibiting in shop windows around the city centre. And we are inviting you – the great artists of Coventry and Warwickshire – to get involved.

As part of the project the Spotlight artists will get access to an RIBA West Midlands architect available for up to three 1-2-1 mentoring sessions. These sessions can be used before, during or within a year of their August 2021 Spotlight window. This opportunity is aimed to help young or aspiring artists develop their skills and knowledge on construction and buildability of their work and develop relationships with other creative professions.

Are you an artist** local to or associated with Coventry? (CV Postcode).
We are inviting you to submit an existing piece of artwork to be exhibited in a window as part of The Show Windows – an ambitious shop window installation series in Coventry City Centre.
There are five windows / commissions available, each of the five artists will receive a fee of £500 (fee is inclusive of any alterations required for the pre-existing work to be exhibited) + mentoring from RIBA Architects. 
**to include all arts including painting, sculpture, design, illustration, media, fashion, sound, poetry, film, performance etc.

Deadline midday Friday 16 July 2021.

– Present existing work for installation on / in a city centre shop or business window, to be allocated to successful artists.
– The window installation / intervention should act as a portal to another world, it should inspire visitors to linger and look, as we will want to find out more. It should be recognisable as your work and link to the idea of Spotlight, whether on your practice or Coventry.
– The work needs to be easy to install (potentially without you on site), lightweight, freestanding if an installation, in windows Coventry BID sources for you.
– Supply information about you and your work for sharing online, digitally and on the Smartify app, for example – a making of / behind the scenes blog with images / video, a recorded interview with one of the team, contextualisation / background to the idea, artist bio / links to other online content, as well as other social media / digital assets as and when requested.
– Be an advocate for the project and positive spokesperson for The Show Windows, to include social media posts and to be open to engaging with your allocated shop / business on behalf of Coventry BID, Coventry 2021 and other project partners.

– Up to three images of the work/s you’d like to exhibit in a window including any needs, eg. electricity access for a projection.
– A short artist bio (max 500 words, this will be shared on Smartify) or submit your bio as an audio/video recording.
– A profile image of yourself (this will be shared on Smartify).
– Up to three images of previous work with image credits (that we might use on social media).
– Links to your website / social media profiles / other relevant sites.
– A short paragraph on your thoughts about Coventry and City of Culture.
– The RIBA architect mentoring opportunity may not be applicable to all artists, so please notify the selection panel in your proposal if you would like to take up this section of the project.
Send your proposals to   by    midday 16 July 2021   with the email title:    Spotlight_YourFirstName_YourSurname

Selection panel TBC but will include:
– Charlie Levine, Curator, The Show Windows
– Trish Willetts, Director, Coventry BID
– Cara Pickering, Visual Arts Programme Producer, Coventry 2021

We ask that the artist ensure that the project aligns with Access requirements, where disability access provision is integral to all planning and delivery, removing or minimizing barriers to engagement for not just the public but all artists, creatives and teams engaged. We are able to offer advice and guidance if needed.

Midday 16 July 2021 Deadline for proposal submission
W/C 19 July 2021 Commission / selected artists notified / announced
26 July – 15 Aug Make artworks ready for display. Deliver digital content (making of blog / video, etc)
W/C 16 August 2021 (Freedom) Install window with five selected artists
One month after installations de-stall window
One month + after installations completion of project after artwork collected from window location
12 months after installation have set up & received your 3 x 1-2-1 sessions with RIBA architects

Coventry Business Improvement District (BID) is a partnership between the businesses locate  within the ring road of Coventry city centre. The aim of the BID is to promote, develop and boost the city centre to make it a great place to work and visit.

Our ambition is that The Show Windows project builds new partnerships with businesses and stakeholders from Coventry, promoting new ways of working putting the work of artists directly in the public eye to reach a broad range of new audiences.
The Show Windows will be a high profile and impactful part of the 2021 programme. Changing public perceptions of the city and influencing public opinion on the value of artists’ work, the project aims to attract audiences from the city as well as visitors from beyond. It should be inclusive and engage a broad range of groups and audiences; we want to develop a project that will speak across cultures and generations.
The Show Window name is taken from Wizard of Oz author L Frank Baum’s book entitled The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors, which was published the same year as the first famous Oz book, 1900. The link to Baum also encapsulates the idea that these windows are to be portals to other worlds, to inspire imagination, adventure and hope.

£500 (fee is inclusive of any alterations required for the pre-existing work to ensure it fits the window). Payment schedule – 100% of total fee provided upon installation.

Coventry City of Culture Trust was set up in 2015 to bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021. Now that we have been successful in securing the prestigious title, we are working to build a cultural programme that reflects Coventry, its people and it’s ambitions for the future. We are a diverse, modern city which is re-imagining the role culture can play in bringing people together. Coventry is a city of welcome, a city of activists and pioneers, a city of peace and reconciliation, a city of innovation and invention, a City of Culture.
The Trust is committed to:
– Welcoming 2.5m additional visitors to Coventry in 2021
– 80% of the city’s residents experiencing at least three events in 2021
– Increasing audience attendance from under-represented communities by 20%
– Activating more than 16,000 volunteers and participants
– Making long-lasting, tangible social change in Coventry
– Transforming who holds the power to create and curate in the city
– Starting a wave of cultural investment across the region
The programme for the year will feature large scale mass participation spectacle and intimate moments of wonder. music, dance, theatre and poetry as well as many more celebratory cultural and heritage experiences in every ward of the city. The programme will touch on the city’s rich history, heritage and diverse communities whilst taking a bold, future-facing approach, exploring narratives about the most pressing issues for our citizens, country and planet in the years to come. 

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter and for regular updates.

Send your proposals to by 5pm 19 July 2021 with the email title:  Reflections_YourFirstName_YourSurname