The Show Windows: Reflections – Open call out
Historic England and Coventry BID in partnership with Coventry City of Culture Trust (CCCT), are
working together on a series of commissions, part of The Show Windows Programme during Coventry
City of Culture 2021. The programme will spotlight and celebrate the city’s pioneering post-war heritage
by bringing together creatives, communities and collections within installations in the city centre.
Historic England and Coventry BID in partnership with CCCT are inviting local artists, illustrators,
designers and architects to write a proposal for a unique and ambitious shop window installation / city
centre takeover in Coventry City Centre as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture programme.
The Show Windows programme is inspired by L Frank Baum (author of the Oz books) who wrote a book
about the art of shop window displays, within which he described these windows as ‘show windows’.
This commission will launch the partnership between Historic England and The Show Windows team, as
well as introduce audiences to their upcoming programme specifically highlighting City Arcade.
Historic England, Coventry BID and CCCT, with curator Charlie Levine, are inviting artists, illustrators,
architects, designers from the West Midlands to re-imagine, spotlight and celebrate Coventry’s
pioneering post-war architecture as a single 2D artwork that can be replicated for display as a series
of exterior window vinyls around Coventry City Centre.
The window commission should act as a portal or starting point for story-telling and narratives that
highlight the incredible post-war heritage in the city. The new artwork will be unveiled to coincide with
Coventry 2021’s theme of Utopia in October 2021, which aligns with the post-war optimism expressed
through Coventry’s innovative post-war architecture. To complement the window installation, we will
invite audiences to engage with the post-war heritage within the city and explore the post-war
architectural history of Coventry through extended interpretation on the Smartify app.
- Re-imagine Coventry’s post-war architectural history as an illustration, montage,
- collage or 2D image
- Create a piece that can be enlarged / shrunk / cropped / repeated to fill various
window sizes as an exterior and interior window vinyl on approx 5 different shop and business
windows around Coventry City Centre
- Create a social media asset to accompany the launch
- Be available to our Digital Content Manager to create additional content, e.g. interviews / behind the
scenes sketches / mock ups etc., online content, as well as other social media / digital assets as and
- Be an advocate for the project and positive spokesperson for The Show Windows, to include social
media posts and being on Coventry 2021’s marcomms list of people available for interview, and to be
open to engaging with your allocated shop / business staff
Our ambition is that The Show Windows project builds new partnerships with businesses and
stakeholders from Coventry, promoting new ways of working. It will be ambitious, iconic and impactful,
putting the work of artists directly in the public eye to reach a broad range of new audiences.
The Show Windows will be high profile and a visually iconic 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 should 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.
WE WILL NEED ON 19 JULY:
- A short artist bio to include links to website and social media (max 500 words)
- A profile image and max 5 images / examples of previous works
- A short introduction to your approach / any initial visual thoughts of what you would do for this
commission to celebrate post-war architecture through new 2D work (max 500 words)
- A short sentence on your thoughts about Coventry 2021, to be included in press & communications
- An Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form
Artist fee: £2000 + VAT
Production: vinyl printing and installation costs for the 5+ Coventry windows will be
paid for by Historic England and Coventry BID
Payment schedule: 100% of total fee provided upon installation. Invoices should be sent to
Full details here
Send your proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm 19 July 2021 with the email title: Reflections_YourFirstName_YourSurname