Updated: Nov 17, 2021
87 artists collaborated together on this outdoor community mural painting. This recent art project is dedicated to the remembrance of all who lost their lives due to human conflict. Ages involved spanned the decades. This mural brought together a wide variety of artistic experience. However, the real magic occurred as a spirit of unity forged itself amongst the artists.
Urban initiatives often revolve around public works of art.
It is an immense privilege to oversee an art project of remembrance, in the form of creating a community mural painting. Five days of work went into on this outdoor art mural. The project evolved over a three week period. Timing is weather dependent because it is a fresco mural. In addition to this, the final day was bitterly cold, but people still showed up.
Community Mural Painting Benefits
Firstly, they create accessibility to art and creative expression
Secondly, they promote a sense of identity and belonging
Thirdly they direct more foot traffic adding to urban enhancement
Equally important therapeutic benefits for the mentally ill
Furthermore, studies link urban arts to equitable development
Serve as a backdrop for music videos, mural tours and art walks
Murals humanise victims and enhance an emotional resonance
Generally, increase the quality of life in deprived areas
Help to promote youth development and youth-led programmes
Murals connect artists, community organisations and non-profits
Similarly, murals transform blighted areas in urban cities
I recommend undertaking a community art project such as painting an outdoor mural. Murals offer accessibility to art without barriers associated with education or finance. Murals promote a sense of identity, belonging, attachment, welcoming and strengthens community ties.
families painting art together
community art in action
The mural transformed the community garden area. It is a striking image. A rather fitting tribute as 100th Remembrance Day approaches. For those who took ownership, it is a very personal shared experience that brought everyone closer together including the wider community.
How did the community mural painting come about?
Firstly, this particular art project was brought up in a meeting. The old mural had fallen into disrepair. Next, several ideas came forward for the replacement wall design which aimed to create a mural painting in the garden community. Later on in the meeting, it was mentioned that 2018 marked a significant milestone relating to the remembrance of WW1. Around town, other preparations were falling into place, so it seemed only fitting to produce something in line with this theme.
The process of the art project
A small team removed the previous wall art, including the old boards which were rotten around the edges. Scott and his father installed the replacement plywood after which the rest of the team applied three coats of primer paint to the wall.
The trustees looked over a range of remembrance designs for their approval. A simple landscape of hedgerows and fields filled with poppies was the preferred choice. With the chosen design in mind, the work began on the community mural painting.
The height of the wall carried a certain risk factor. It meant working off a ledge, which required care to be taken at all times. In spite of this, I was willing to take the risk for myself. Working so close to design proved challenging though. It always helps to be able to take a step back to look at the big picture. Not advisable in this instance. However, the risk assessment concluded it was in everyone’s safety to work from ground level. All artists could reach quite comfortably.
The painting of the mural
Firstly, I painted the background of hedgerows onto the mural. This gave the poppies a context and a framework to work within. After that, a steady flow of artists began to appear over the next few days. Many were locals, however, we had several visitors turn up including Caitlin from California! The cafe staff painted flowers with genuine enthusiasm. The Director of the Oriel Davies braved the biting cold on the last day to leave his mark.
Murals, in particular, are ideal. A growing body of research has positively identified murals with social, cultural and economic benefits as well as positive mental health.
With this in mind, I enjoyed observing the artists working on this art project. Jay worked meticulously and methodically. Rob’s approach was much more spontaneous. George kept to the period by incorporating Russian Constructivism. I was amazed at the fine motor skills of our youngest artist. A 10-year-old boy profoundly remarked on a drip running down from the petal as a soul departing this world, which was very deep for someone so young.
Finally, as for the artists themselves, I was greatly moved to learn what it meant to them to be a part of this community mural painting. Many of whom are inspired to pick up painting for the first time in their life. Result!