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Blenheim Palace and Oxfordshire’s leading youth organisation unveil epic art installation

In partnership with the Oxfordshire Youth, the county’s leading charitable organisation for young people and Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, Blenheim Palace has revealed a 12m high mural, featuring images created by budding Oxfordshire artists designed to cover the famous Flagstaff Gate – currently being restored as part of an ongoing £2m conservation project.

This hugely impressive, monumental artwork combines drawings, digital imagery and text created by thirty 8-to-25-year-olds from across the county.

Oxfordshire Youth, an organisation championing young people and giving them the necessary skills, support, and connections they need to thrive, commissioned visual artist Kate Turnbull to lead interactive creative sessions with the young people, bringing to life their vision of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mural created together will be covering one of the main entrances to Britain’s greatest palace.

The renovation of the Flagstaff roof with the same materials originally used is part of a wider restoration project, the first of its kind at a Grade I Listed World Heritage Site, which will see the ceiling of its 18th century orangery replaced with timber and slate, to match what is understood to be Vanbrugh’s original design.

Emmy O’Shaughnessy, Oxfordshire Youth’s Director of Innovation and Growth said: “We share a vision with Blenheim Palace in actively seeking to enhance the experience of young people and families who visit the World Heritage Site. Showcasing the creativity and imagination of young people on this scale shows how highly Blenheim values their contribution and this sends a strong message to the wider world about the importance of celebrating young people’s diversity of ideas, talent, and freedom of creative expression.

“We are proud to be in partnership with such a progressive and values-driven organisation, that is invested in the young people of Oxfordshire and committed to working with us towards a future in which every young person has the skills, support and opportunities they need to thrive.”

Dominic Hare, Chief Executive Officer added: “We’re truly inspired and wowed by the outcome of this creative initiative. This restoration project is extremely important to us and integral to our plan to achieve our 10 Year Goals. There’s no better way to shine a light on this vital work than by listening to what future generations have to say and then sharing that with the wider community.

“Blenheim and the Spencer-Churchill family have a long-term partnership with Oxfordshire Youth and one that will continue in the future enabling us to help improve the lives of disadvantaged young people in any way we can.”

The Flagstaff conservation project is being fully funded by visits to Blenheim Palace. All admissions and every penny spent during a visit goes directly towards preserving the legacy of the World Heritage Site and makes conservation projects like this one possible. Kelly Whitton, head of built heritage at Blenheim Palace, is leading the work which is expected to be finished in Autumn 2023.

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Flagstaff at Blenheim Palace

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