Last month a Swindon art hub, Artsite, called on artists interested in painting a mural in a bid to help bring community art back into the town centre.
Thanks to inSwindon BID, Artsite have been offered £2,000 funding to commission a Swindon-based artist, or artists, to work alongside Artsite and SCAN (Swindon Climate Action Network) to produce a vibrant mural entitled ‘My Town, My World’. Artists living in Swindon were asked to submit samples of their work for the proposed mural. The potential site for the mural will be located opposite The Savoy on the panels cordoning off Aspen House.
Artsite Trustee Sally Taylor is the brainchild of the project - she hopes this will lead the way for other tangible schemes in the town centre and encourage more local businesses to invest in creative initiatives.
Sally said: "This isn’t just about putting a picture on a wall, it’s about how the community can add to the town centre, – trying to fill the spaces and empty shops – because a lot of people are complaining about it. Projects like this happen in Bristol and Brighton, so why not Swindon?
"We’re working with SCAN, inSwindon BID and local businesses to highlight that we’re all working together to make our town centre better by resurrecting community art to get people attracted to the town centre again. If you took art out of life everything would collapse – but a lot of people don’t recognise that.”
The concept for the mural will be a collaborative effort between Artsite, the selected artist and SCAN. After the artist, or artists, have been chosen Artsite will host a workshop alongside SCAN to develop the idea into fruition. The organisations want to create a concept which incorporates current social and environmental issues – which also symbolise Artsite's ethos.
Sally said: "At the heart of it it’s about opportunities. We could have easily found someone to paint a quick mural, but it’s not about that. Artsite is about developing opportunities, and this would just be the beginning because murals were what Swindon was renowned for in the 70s and 80s thanks to Ken White.
"We hope this will plant the seed to create more murals in the future and provide more opportunities for Swindon-based artists.”
Vicky Silver, also an Artsite Trustee, added: “With this project Sally’s reclaimed it back for the artist – allowing them to input their own creativity. It’s also giving artists the opportunity to earn their keep."
The final plans were set to be submitted to Swindon Borough Council by inSwindon at the end of March to approve the proposal.