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Budd Brum JFK Saved?

Oliver Budd, President of the British Association for Modern Mosaic, is the mosaicist son of Kenneth Budd, who made the great mural in Birmingham back in 1968. Now read on...

First Lady to unveil JFK tribute in Irish Quarter

Irish Post July 2010

FIRST LADY Michelle Obama could make a stop in Birmingham’s Irish Quarter to unveil a tribute to President JFK in 2012

Following a meeting held last week, the impressive mosaic in honour of John F Kennedy, removed from St. Chad’s Circus in 2007, seems likely to find its new home opposite the Irish Centre in the Irish Quarter of Birmingham.

The Irish Forum’s Michelle Aucott, Irish Quarter Regeneration Co-ordinator, told The Irish Post: “We hired an independent artist to identify some locations where the memorial could be relocated. Floodgate Street on the corner, directly opposite the Irish Centre, was the most popular — with 98 per cent of people preferring that spot.

“After looking at all the locations, this site — with the redevelopment of the Irish Quarter, its prominence in the Irish Quarter and its close proximity to the Irish Centre — is definitely our preferred choice.”

Roughly 100 people attended a meeting on Thursday, July 22, to decide the best location for the memorial, created by artist Kenneth Budd in 1968. Funds for the memorial were raised by the city’s Irish community. It was removed when the roundabout was replaced with a traffic junction in 2007 and has since been in storage — to the dismay of Birmingham’s residents.

“This relocation is important for the community,” Michelle Aucott said. “The memorial has never gone away — there has always been a large amount of media coverage around it, asking where it is and why it hasn’t been put back. The community has kept that alive.”

Plans for the relocation continue and further talks with the council must take place — but the Irish Forum hope the mosaic will be back on view by the 2012 Olympic Games.

Michelle explained: “The USA’s athletics team will be based in Birmingham for the 2012 games. We would like to tie the memorial launch in with the American team coming over. So that led us to think about getting the Obamas involved. Michelle Obama in particular wants to visit Birmingham, and we could add the launch into her itinerary.”

She adds: “I think there is a strong possibility that we can achieve this — and we would be crazy not to try. Barack Obama himself has Irish connections, so it would tie it all in nicely.”

Oliver Budd, son of the artist responsible for the £5,000 memorial, will work on the mosaic using original drawings by his father,who died in 1995.

Final decisions on the location and form of the relocated mosaic are expected by the end of the year and a planning application will follow.

(The photograph is taken from Budd Mosaics, The Public Art Mosaics of Kenneth and Oliver Budd by Oliver Budd. See our Book Reviews pages.)


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