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Heathrow funding major artwork at Paddington Crossrail station

By Andrew Dempsey

  • Spencer Finch’s ‘Cloud Index’ to take flight in canopy above the station
  • Artwork to be co-funded by Heathrow and City of London Corporation and installed in advance of Crossrail opening in 2018

Heathrow is co-funding an impressive new art work with the City of London Corporation in the new Paddington Crossrail station.

A Cloud Index by international artist Spencer Finch will see different types of clouds printed onto the glazed canopy above the station ticket hall. They will create a picture of the sky which will appear to change according to the light, the direction of the sun and the time of day.

An advisory Round Table in collaboration with Lisson Gallery and station architects Weston Williamson assessed the suitability of the artwork, which will be part of Crossrail’s Culture Line, an exhibition of large-scale art across central London Crossrail stations. It has been created in collaboration with London’s leading art galleries and Futurecity, a cultural and placemaking agency.  

Artist Spencer Finch said: “I want to create a visual experience for travellers that changes each time they pass through the station. This artwork will exist both as an artificial cloudscape and as a homage to the British obsession with categorizing and systematizing the most fugitive of natural phenomena. Since Luke Howard first created a nomenclature for clouds in 1803, the efforts to comprehend and quantify clouds have been both beautiful and quixotic, and clouds always seem to stay one step ahead of human understanding.”

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “We are incredibly proud to be part of the Culture Line and to support Crossrail’s work to connecting Heathrow with the City, Canary Wharf and east London. Crossrail will transform journey times across London, take nearly 2 million cars off the road by the time it fully opens in 2019, and ultimately help us to ensure more than 50% of our passengers use public transport at an expanded Heathrow by 2030.”

Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “Spencer Finch’s art is beautiful, ambitious and intelligent. It will leave a legacy for future generations, helping to maintain London’s reputation as a global capital for arts and culture. I would like to thank Heathrow for joining the City of London Corporation and contributing towards the Culture Line, which has good momentum as we get closer to Crossrail opening in 2018.”

Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation said: “Crossrail is the most important infrastructure development for London in recent years, helping us remain a globally competitive and world-leading city. However, the project also offers the chance to leave a fantastic cultural footprint for future generations to enjoy which is why we are delighted to provide funding for the Crossrail Art Foundation and the Culture Line.”

The Culture Line falls outside Crossrail’s £14.8 billion core funding. The Crossrail Art Foundation is raising funds for the individual artworks from corporate funders.  The City of London Corporation has also agreed to support the Crossrail Art Foundation by match funding the contributions received from the corporate funders. Commissions for artworks will focus initially on the new Crossrail stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.

An estimated 25 million people a year are expected to use the Crossrail station at Paddington when the new railway opens in 2018. Improvements at Paddington include the Paddington Integrated Project (PIP), a close collaboration between Transport for London, Network Rail and Crossrail to create an integrated station with improved passenger experience and easy interchanges. As part of this, a new Hammersmith & City line station has been built to ease over-crowding, along with a new pedestrian entrance to the canal towpath and a new taxi facility to the east of the existing station.

Crossrail will carry over 200 million passengers per year, adding 10% to central London’s rail capacity. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes of London’s key employment, leisure and business districts and encourage regeneration all the way across the capital.

Passengers from business district Canary Wharf will be able to travel to Heathrow in under 40 minutes without changing trains.

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For further information contact the Crossrail Press Office on 020 3229 9552 or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors

About the Culture Line:

The Crossrail Art Foundation, a registered charity, has been founded with support from the City of London Corporation, with a mission to promote art for the benefit of the public, by establishing and maintaining a public art programme that will enhance the journeys of the millions of people who will use the Crossrail railway each day.

The Crossrail Art Foundation will help deliver an integrated exhibition of site specific public artworks by internationally renowned artists, which are sympathetic to the Crossrail railway and the location of the relevant station. We call this “The Culture Line” and it forms a major part of the art programme.

Crossrail’s vision of a world-class railway requires the buildings and spaces created as part of the railway to be inspirational. This aspiration is shared by the Crossrail Art Foundation. The Culture Line will bring together art world creativity from internationally renowned artists, with reputable contemporary London-based art galleries, corporate funders and world-class architects, designers and engineers in this ambitious and exciting project. 

The Crossrail Art Foundation will select artworks that will form The Culture Line, with the support of the art galleries and advisory Round Table panels of art-world representatives. 

Commissions for artworks will focus initially on the new Crossrail stations at the key locations of Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf Group’s development of Canary Wharf station.

In total, six London-based galleries have been selected to support The Culture Line.

They are:

The artwork selected for each station will play a significant part in the Crossrail story, by participating in one of the leading public art programmes in a generation. The result will be a series of unique destinations, each with its own site specific artwork.

The Culture Line falls outside Crossrail’s £14.8 billion core funding. The Crossrail Art Foundation is raising funds for the individual artworks from corporate funders.   The City of London Corporation has also agreed to support the Crossrail Art Foundation, including by match funding the contributions received from the corporate funders.

The Crossrail Art Foundation registered as a charity in England and Wales (1159310) and is a company limited by guarantee (company number 09200269), with its registered office at 50 Broadway, London SW1H 0BL.

Spencer Finch (b. 1962 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA) has exhibited internationally at major institutions. Solo exhibitions include Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2011); Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA (2011); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2010); Frac des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou, France (2010); Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2009); Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (2008); MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2007). Group shows include: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA (2011); Folkestone Triennial, Folkestone (2011); Hayward Gallery, London (2010); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice (2009); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2004). Selected public projects include High Line public commission (2009) and Park Avenue Armory, New York (2008).

Spencer Finch is represented in the UK by Lisson Gallery. For more information on Spencer click here or contact Lisson Gallery Director Joanna Thornberry on [email protected]

About Crossrail:

The total funding available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn. The Crossrail route will pass through 40 stations and run more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km (13 miles) tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Crossrail is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

In addition to contributing funding to The Crossrail Art Foundation for the proposed artwork at Paddington, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd are contributing £70 million to the delivery of Crossrail.

About City of London:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

  • Supporting London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of more than £15 million annually to charitable projects across London and supports education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
  • Helping look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.
  • Supporting and promoting the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

It was agreed at the 2nd October 2007 Court of Common Council meeting that approval be given to a contribution by the City of London Corporation to the cost of Crossrail in the sum of £250 million.

See for more details.