Giant rugby balls impress World Cup visitors in the birthplace of the game

Arts development officer Joanne Bailey, Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for economy, development and culture, and Kookooshaboo's Ann Crearie, Leanne Gilroy and Kate Thomas.
Arts development officer Joanne Bailey, Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for economy, development and culture, and Kookooshaboo's Ann Crearie, Leanne Gilroy and Kate Thomas.

Giant rugby ball sculptures inspired by the Proud Home of the game have gone on display in the town centre.

The five pieces of public art form Rugby’s Got Balls, a project launched by arts collective Kookooshaboo to celebrate the Rugby World Cup.

With support from Rugby Borough Council’s arts development team, Kookooshaboo enlisted the help of the community to create the distinctive rugby ball sculptures.

Each six foot by four foot sculpture features a unique design - with the rugby ball in Caldecott Park decorated with the thumb prints of hundreds of primary school children from across Rugby.

The sculpture at the town’s railway station, created by Rugby College art student Eleanor Slaney, has an intricate henna design complete with a red rose, while the sculpture in Chapel Street features a collage of school children’s drawings inspired by both the game and the town.

The Fanzone’s sculpture has Mondrian-style geometric shapes and includes quotes and messages from residents who attended the Trophy Tour reception at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Kookooshaboo’s Leanne Gilroy designed the fifth and final sculpture, which draws together images of Rugby and the game, and features the flags of the nations competing at the Rugby World Cup.

Kookooshaboo - Leanne, Ann Crearie and Kate Thomas - met at university while studying art and joined forces to launch the arts collective.

Describing the inspiration for the project, Leanne said: “Our goal was to bring the different communities in Rugby together to create something artistic to celebrate the game and the town of Rugby.

“We want the world to know ‘Rugby’s Got Balls.’”

Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has launched a children’s adventure trail based on the project, called ‘I’m Going on a Ball Hunt.’

Children who complete the trail can enter a draw to win a prize. Trail guides can be picked up from Rugby Visitor Centre.

Cllr Heather Timms, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for economy, development and culture, said: “Kookooshaboo has worked with hundreds of residents on this innovative project, creating unique pieces of public art which celebrate the town’s status as the Proud Home of the game.

“The sculptures have quickly become a popular photo opportunity for visitors and residents alike, and promise to provide another legacy of the town’s Rugby World Cup celebrations.”

For more information about the council’s arts development team, visit www.ragm.co.uk

For more information about Kookooshaboo, visit www.kookooshaboo.com