14 February 2017
A special piece of artwork and outdoor mural to celebrate Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield in August 2017 is being unveiled today in Sheffield City Centre.
This very exciting and ground breaking collaboration between professional Sheffield digital artist Greg Harris, local art students with intellectual (learning) disability and athletes from Special Olympics GB sees famous Sheffield landmarks celebrated and combined with the images of local icons and Special Olympics athletes from the Sheffield area.
Special Olympics GB thank greatly Loop Print from Harvest Lane in Sheffield for kindly donating their services to print the mural and also to Sheffield Hallam University for allowing the mural to be erected opposite Sheffield train station on their estate.
Sheffield Artist Greg Harris said: “I sat down with Special Olympics athletes and art students from Art Works in Sheffield who informed me of their thoughts and ideas and also what characteristics and passions they wanted to see in the piece of outdoor art.
“The Art Works students also produced outstanding pieces of work which demonstrated what the Special Olympics Games means to them and that inspired me and this final piece.
“The quality of the initial art completed and displayed by the local students with learning disability to inspire our piece of work to celebrate the Special Olympics National Games in August 2017 demonstrated real talent, passion, vibrancy and inspiration from people with disability.
“I am very excited about this and I believe this outdoor city centre art mural between people with and without learning disability will be extremely engaging and I am so honoured to be involved.
“As someone who had learning difficulties as a child, attended special schools in Sheffield and told that I might not make much of my life, I am overwhelmed to see so much passion and talent within these students and athletes. I only see their ability.”
“The Special Olympics athletes are going to shout from the highest buildings and arenas in Sheffield next summer how brilliantly talented they are and I hope everyone will be listening and watching.
“I wanted to incorporate a feel of sporting celebration and Special Olympics athletes – surrounded by Sheffield icons. I know a lot of Sheffielders have fond memories of these iconic landmarks.
“I wanted to pay a tribute to Special Olympics’ athletes, Sheffield and these iconic landmarks.”
Chris Gray from Loop Print said: “We are delighted to be associated with Special Olympics GB National Games and support this piece of artwork. It is terrific that such a prestigious event like this is coming to Sheffield and a great advert for the city and all it has to offer.”
Liz Carrington, from Art Works, said: “We feel privileged to be a part of such a special project and event. The members of Art Works are full of excitement for our collaboration with the athletes and Greg Harris. After our session with the Special Olympics athletes and Greg the student artists were overflowing with inspiration and ideas. We are all really looking forward to the 2017 Sheffield Games.”
The final piece of work will be erected in a prominent position in Sheffield Centre across from the train station until the end of the Games in August 2017.
- The piece of art will be 98 inches tall by 192 inches wide (approx. 8ft tall by 16ft wide) on the hoardings of Sheffield Hallam University – on the current building construction opposite the main train station in city centre.
- The art is modern, uplifting, passionate, vibrant and embodies the spirit of sport, humanity, human endeavour, Special Olympics and Sheffield – all inspired under the banner of #SeeingIsBelieving – the Special Olympics GB National Games’ slogan.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Parks, said: “Sheffield is a great sporting city. We’re very excited to be hosting the Special Olympic Games here in the summer, which will celebrate the athletic achievements of around 2,600 people with learning disabilities supported by more than 5,000 family members and friends.
“The mural displays perfectly what the Games are about and will help build excitement before they get going in August. Great work from everyone involved.”
About the Special Olympic Games:
Special Olympics National Games sees 20 sports take place across over a dozen venues in Sheffield and South Yorkshire during August 2017 – with a spectacular Opening Ceremony on Tuesday 8th August 2017 at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane Stadium followed by four days of sport.
Special Olympics GB National Games – which are held every four years – will be the biggest disability sports event in the country in 2017, with 2,600 athletes with learning disabilities from across England, Scotland and Wales taking part in 20 different sports.
These Games are a chance to make a huge difference to the lives of many inspiring athletes with learning disabilities and their families – who will remember this National Games experience forever.