Straight Talking: Out in the Open: If You Love Me, Keep Me Smokefree

Out in the Open is part of the Straight Talking project, aiming to take the smokefree messages to outdoor spaces. Artist Luke Perry was commissioned to work with Year Six pupils in Dudley. Pupils from Bramford, Bromley Pensnett and Queen Victoria Primary Schools worked with Luke  to design and produce If you love me, keep me smokefree, three special artworks that respectfully ask parents, carers, friends and family members not to smoke when they drop off and collect children from school.


The final If you love me, keep me smokefree artworks will help to keep the playground and outside school spaces smokefree and safe for everyone at the three schools – reinforcing the message that smoke really does harm innocent bystanders as well as the smoker.

This case study reports on Stage One of the Straight Talking: Out in the Open public art commission If you love me, keep me smokefree, delivered in three Dudley Primary Schools from January to July 2015.

Out in the Open in the Parks
Dragons abound in Dudley, marking territory outside 19 schools and a GP surgery. The dragon ‘stamp’, a semi-permanent piece of outdoor art, shows that the school has pledged to keep children smokefree.

During Dudley Play Week children got the chance to be creative and take the dragons even further afield, filling the parks with chalk dragons as a reminder to adults to keep them smokefree.

What happened
350 children in five Dudley parks made their mark in chalk to share the smokefree dragon story. Working with artist Jim Morris they created amazing scenes on the hard surfaces of the parks, some choosing to stay for long periods of time to finish their masterpiece.

The Creative Producer on the project teamed up with Play Week leaders and parks officers from the local Council to devise the project, ensuring it was an activity that would fit in alongside other activities and wouldn’t cause any harm to the parks. The Creative Producer was also on hand during the sessions to make sure the smokefree message was conveyed to parents and carers as they watched their children draw, handing out Straight Talking postcards and having one-to-one conversations about second hand smoke.

Straight Talking: Out in the Open: If you Love Me, Keep Me Smokefree was commissioned by the Dudley Office of Public Health, Dudley Stop Smoking Service and developed by Creative Health CIC working with commissioned local artist Luke Perry, and artist Jim Morris in the parks.

Click here to download the Straight Talking: Out in the Open: If you love me, keep me smokefree Case Study Report.