A PROMINENT Stratford eyesore is being transformed in time for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations thanks to a unique community arts project.
Bland black hoarding protecting a derelict site at a key entrance point into the town is being reimagined into a bright celebration of Stratford-upon-Avon by two well-known local street artists… just in time to welcome the thousands of visitors expected into the town over the four day Jubilee holiday later this week.
The site, on the corner of Greenhill Street and Arden Street, is one of the key crossing points for pedestrians coming into town from the train station as well as for traffic coming in on several key road arteries. There has been concern for several years that the hoarding was having a negative impact on people’s first impressions of Stratford-upon-Avon.
But now thanks to Stratford Upon Avon Business Improvement District, Escape Arts and artists Michael Batchelor of Street Art Strategy and Ali Glover this key entrance to the town is being given a long overdue facelift, and people will be greeted by huge swans painted into a colourful giant mural.
The transformation is being carried out as part of the In Paint We Trust project, where unique spaces have been used for art as part of the Coventry City of Culture programme and follows a public consultation exercise earlier this month where local businesses, residents and community groups were asked what they wanted to see on the mural – and swans were a clear winner.
Diane Mansell, Stratford Upon Avon BID Manager said:
“We all know that first impressions count and we are delighted to be supporting local businesses by creating a wonderful welcome for visitors to the town. The new mural is simply stunning and the fact that it has been designed with the community means that it’s something we can all be proud of”.
Taking a brief break from his painting, Michael Batchelor from Street Art Strategy said he was overwhelmed by the positive feedback from the public to the mural even before it was complete:
“Literally hundreds of people have been shouting out to us about how marvellous the mural looks and loads have been stopping to take pictures. We haven’t had a single negative comment!”
Fellow artist Ali Glover from Sweet Art Street Art added:
“As a local resident and street artist, I am really pleased we are brightening up the area with community led street art, which will have a positive impact for residents, businesses and visitors alike”.
But the final word must go to the new Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, Cllr Gill Cleeve who simply said:
“The Ugly Duckling of the hoardings on Greenhill Street has been turned into a magnificent swan with its head noble and high.”