Artists put paint to canvas on town centre's new mural

By Genna Pugh - 2 July 2019

CommunityCharityVolunteeringArts and Culture

Despite multiple set-backs, work has begun today on the new mural project, led by Sally Taylor from the arts charity Artsite.

Peter Cowdy and Martin Travers

Swindon's new mural painting began today at the back of the Wyvern Theatre.

The mural funded by inSwindon BID, is being designed and painted by internationally known, Swindon-born artist Martin Travers as well as his mentee Peter Crowdy who does a lot of local artwork. Local volunteers have also begun to help with the initial painting backdrop painting.

The theme of the mural is ‘My Town, Our World’ and although it is mostly under wraps, Sally has told us: “It’s about locality and saying, ‘Swindon is different – stop running it down’. And because we’ve worked with SCAN (Swindon Climate Action Network) it’s about combining the urban environment and the greener environment, which sums Swindon up.”

There have been a few setbacks and change of location from Aspen House. Sally said: “It’s great that [the mural] is finally happening. It is all about positivity. We hope that once people see what a glorious image this is, it’ll be the beginning of something else. It might not always necessarily be murals – perhaps a sculpture – but it’s about using the arts to support the regeneration of the town centre and trying to attack the rennovation problem from a different angle.”

Sally is hopeful that these ongoing cultural renovations in Swindon will continue: “This is the heart of the cultural quarter, and there’s lots of things that could be happening here – and this is where artists and creatives come up with ideas. It’s not always about having loads of money, but if you want to attract people to Swindon you have to invest in the town.”

Given the scale of the mural’s new site, the arts charity hope local businesses will financially support the initiative through inSwindon BID to commission both the project and the artists. Sally commented: “As much as artists will do things for the love of it, this is a considerably bigger wall. We are hoping to raise £1000 to support the professional artists and their work.”

The collective of organisations hope this will be one of many steps of renovating the town centre, and improve the perception of the town. Di Powell, inSwindon BID CEO, said: “The mural is a popular concept for the town centre. The support we’ve received to make it happen is a credit to the town. Collaboration between Swindon Borough Council, Artsite, the artists, and everyone involved, has led to the mural continuing on time, despite its alternative location.  

“The project wouldn’t have happened without the support of businesses in the town centre. The Brunel has kindly donated the paint and materials for the project and Bower and Bailey on Regent Circus has made a financial investment to support community projects for the town centre. We’re excited to be revealing the final masterpiece this weekend.”

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, added: “This mural is the brainchild of Artsite and paid for by businesses, through inSwindon BID. It’s something a little different for our town and brings character to the cultural area around the Wyvern Theatre, and Library. Their efforts should be welcomed by all residents, and I hope the Council can continue to facilitate more ideas like this in the future.”

Keen painters and members of the community wanting to put their mark on the mural are welcome to join in. For further information email sallytaylor@sallytaylor.net or visit https://www.artsite.ltd.uk/

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