A subway that was previously a hotspot for vandalism and anti-social behaviour has been transformed into a vibrant woodland scene thanks to the latest ‘In Paint We Trust’ project in Coventry.
The subway in Stoke Aldermoor, which was once poorly lit and an area of concern for local residents, is now home to a huge colourful mural painted by local artists Lucy Kenny and Rory McKenna based on ideas from the local community.
The painting is part of the ‘In Paint We Trust’ project, produced by Street Art Strategy with support from Coventry Business Improvement District and Coventry City of Culture Trust. ‘In Paint We Trust’ has seen a range of murals created across the city by local, national and international artists inspired by local history and culture and designed to spark conversation.
Other murals created as part of In Paint We Trust, which is funded by the City of Culture, include ‘Tower of Tales’ by internationally-acclaimed Manchester based duo Nomad Clan at New Union Street car park. The most recent addition is a mural depicting Coventry’s Cathedral on the APPS Living student accommodation building on Greyfriars Lane, which was designed by CovKid – a project that celebrates Coventry design – and brought to life by street artists from the Graffwerk Street Art Team.
The Stoke Aldermoor subway painting is part of the ‘Lift Me Up’ campaign in the area, which takes on board views from the local community in the area as part of a Place Based Social Action (PBSA) project. As part of a desire for safer, cleaner, greener streets and parks, people were concerned about poor lighting and the appearance of the subway, which had previously attracted anti-social behaviour, sparking concerns about its safety for people trying to use it to access other areas.
The PBSA, led by Stoke Aldermoor Social Action Partnership (SASAP) – a group of local people who live and work in the area – aimed to transform the space to make it safer, beautiful and to create an image that ties in with the community’s aspirations for the area. The group meets fortnightly at St Catherine’s Church in Stoke Aldermoor to plan action on things highlighted by the community.
Kyla Craig, Community Organiser at SASAP, who led the Stoke Aldermoor mural project, said: “The design came from listening to children, young people and families about what they wanted to change about their area. Better streets and better parks was one of the themes and the subway was highlighted as a place that felt unsafe, so we hope that this artwork helps change what people feel in the area!”
Artist Rory McKenna said: “I started out studying graphic design. Then I went into graffiti. I am a self taught artist. I learn as I go. I want to try and combine street art, fine art and graffiti. I am trying to do as much street art as I can while I can. Working on the Stoke Aldermoor tunnel project was amazing, the skills I learnt here I’ll carry forever, and seeing the locals enjoy it has made it even better.”
Trish Willetts, Coventry BID Director, said: “This is the latest in a series of amazing murals we’ve seen created across the city as part of In Paint We Trust. To see the way these images help lift an area and provide a lasting legacy for the city really is a privilege and the BID is delighted to be involved in helping deliver them.”
Melissa Smith, from Street Art Strategy, said: “To be involved with the Lift Me Up campaign has been a real pleasure. Hearing what local people want from their local area and to translate that into a mural is for me what art should be about. It’s been good to work with local artists to give them a platform for their work too. Coventry needs more spaces and places for local street artists to paint – I am hoping the In Paint We Trust programme will open more doors for this to happen in the future and for the legacy of 2021.”
Cara Pickering, Visual Arts Programme Producer at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “In Paint We Trust is about storytelling, sharing and celebrating stories from Coventry. This piece of work does just that. It has been produced by people from the city from the initial idea to the design concept and the artistic work. It’s a moment I hope everyone can get behind and enjoy.”