All in a day's work: Community Art Project

15 September 2018

The first week of the school summer holidays I took some time off work to complete an art project that’s been forming in my mind for years.

 

Growing up predominantly in the Princess Street Flats in Bedfordshire I remember distinctly hating the large concrete wall that dominated the view from our kitchen window. It was a crumbling stretch of dreariness, that for me, represented the social divide between our flats at the private housing on the other side. Now in my early twenties and living independently in Cambridge, I finally had the time and resource to coordinate my childhood ambition: to paint that god-damn ugly wall. Working with the representative housing association BPHA, local paint merchants Brewers, and of course the Princess Street residents themselves, we successfully brought together the community and painted a fabulous mural based off the theme ‘Clapham and the community’. 

 

Around 50 residents got involved in the project. Everyone worked together creating the design, preparing the 50 square foot wall and then doing the painting. The theme of ‘Clapham and the Community’ reflects the rich cultural diversity of the community. So as well as showing aspects of community life, we’ve also included some Arabic writing, a world map and a selection of national flags. The BPHA, Brewers, and all the neighbours were extremely supportive of the mural.There was such a great reaction from local residents, with people of all ages and abilities wanting to get involved. And the speed at which we managed to do the work shows how eager everyone was to see it finished. Originally I thought it might take a week to do the painting. But after two days preparing the wall, it took just one day!

 

The success has been promoted locally through the Clapham Parish newsletter, The Bedford Clanger, and the BPHA quarterly newsletter. Take a look at the gallery below to see how the mural took shape!

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