Customs House unveils stunning new artwork as chosen by public

South Shields artist Kylie Ann Ford has gone up the wall at the Customs House.
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The people of South Tyneside have chosen one of Kylie’s designs to go on show for the next three months for people to come and see.

The venue asked the community to fill their building banner with ‘what togetherness means to you’ and dozens of entries were whittled down to four, then opened to a vote.

Kylie’s design, ‘Connected By Our Roots’, was triumphant.

The banner will be on show for three monthsThe banner will be on show for three months
The banner will be on show for three months
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Kylie has recently started a new business called Coco SoShi Art, selling clothing with her designs on them: “This building means so much to me, it is one of the main reasons I was able to explore my creativity from an early age and without it I would not have had the same career or made the same lifelong friends that I have today,” she said.

"So, it fills my heart with an enormous amount of joy that my artwork will be displayed on the side of a little (or to be fair, massive) jacket of love to keep it warm until we’re allowed back in to play.

“I was born and raised in South Shields and the connection that people from South Tyneside - and the North East in general - have to the area always feels incredibly strong, no matter how far away they venture.

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Kylie with Ray SpencerKylie with Ray Spencer
Kylie with Ray Spencer

"I know my own will never break. We are a community and, whether we were grown here from the beginning, or whether we’ve been freshly planted, we are all Connected By Our Roots.

“A million thanks to everyone who voted for my piece.”

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More than 1,400 votes were made through an online poll. Kylie’s artwork will not only be on display on the side of the building but hers and the other shortlisted artworks by Joanne Cocklin, Elissa Kinnersley and Arts 4 Wellbeing will appear in on online Gallery.

Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer said: “It was lovely that so many people took their time to send in so many brilliant posters. They were all winners.

Kylie is delighted to see her design on showKylie is delighted to see her design on show
Kylie is delighted to see her design on show

It was great that then so many more took part in choosing the final piece to grace our building and it sums up our community, wherever we go, whatever we do, we’ll be joined by our roots.”

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