Since 2018, Artlink has been working with communities on and around Hull’s Spring Bank, one of the city’s most diverse high streets. This has developed into a series of participatory projects called Spring Bank Art.
Last autumn, Artlink carried out a series of community consultations with residents and business owners around Spring Bank about what they felt about the community, if they would like an art project to happen in the area and what changes they would like to see it make. Artists, Sharon Darley (Shaz) and David Okwesia, accompanied by Artlink creative producer Magda Moses, spent 3-months talking to over 700 people, collecting ideas. 97% of the people we spoke to were very positive regards seeing a visual art project to enhance to look of their area and 47% said they would like to see more colour and coloured lights. Moreover, members of the Spring Bank community talked about their strong sense of togetherness and identity which we aim to represent and support the development of through the project.
With funding from Back to Ours and Hull City Council and in-kind support from Crown Paints, in May 2019, we started a new phase of Spring Bank Art project which we aim to run for a year. The first part of this was the True Colours of Spring Bank. Shaz, the lead and concept artist of True Colours, says:
“Creating a unique palette of colours for Spring Bank has allowed us to break down barriers of engagement, and reach as wide a number of people as we can across the community. Colour is a ‘leveller’; it cuts through class, religion, age, gender, culture. Most people, no matter who they are, have an opinion on their favourite colours. Our palette is been built by the community for the community. Practically, the palette will also create a unifying aesthetic up and down the street, as all future works will refer to it. Our first job, to kick proceedings off, is to block-colour a number of tired-looking buildings with colours from the palette. This is a broad-stroke announcement that says to the community – something’s happening! Cities and towns across the globe have variations of coloured streets (not just Ballamory), so why shouldn’t Hull, and why shouldn’t it be Spring Bank? So, the ‘True Colours’ palette is unique, inclusive and unifying.”
The residents, community members and shop owners got enthusiastically involved in the consultation and design process. We meet on regular basis to discuss next stages of Spring Bank Art. Geri, a resident of Spring Bank, says:
“It has been great for us, as local residents, to be consulted about, and included in, the early planning stages of the Artlink Spring Bank art project, thanks to project lead Magda Moses and lead artist Sharon Darley, liaising with us. Spring Bank has some very real social issues which we live with as residents on a frequent basis, and similar to other areas of Hull, we are experiencing a high level of graffiti, mainly the form of tagging. But there are many positives about the area, which the local press sometimes overlook with the printing of negative headlines. We are really excited about this project and hopeful that it will kick start some positive change for the area, and that local residents and businesses will have something to be proud of as the project unfolds. We are a very mixed culture and the project has been really inclusive by representing all facets of the local community, which will be reflected by the artwork. This area has some of the oldest, original Victorian houses has been somewhat neglected over the last 15 years. We are hoping this project will brighten things up and be a precursor to some real investment in the area.”
In June Shaz spent a week in Collingwood Primary School delivering creative workshops focusing on colours and emotions with Key Stage 1. Over 200 children got involved in designing Spring Bank mural, choosing the palette of Spring Bank and creating their own urban colour scheme for their neighbourhood.
We are also very lucky that Karen Haller, a Colour and Design Psychology Consultant, has become involved in the project and has been working with the artists and the community on the colour scheme and designs. She visited us on 21st July to meet the residents and talk to them about the psychology behind the colours.
Here is the True Colours of Spring Bank Palette!
The third part of Spring Bank Art is also getting underway this summer. Using some of the colours developed in the True Colours of Spring Bank palette, artist Skeg will develop a mural design collaboratively with members of Spring Bank Community Centre and Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre on Barkley Street. This will then be painted on the gable end of George’s Bargain Centre.
In the next several months Hull will see the visual change on Spring Bank. We are officially launching the True Colours of Spring Bank palette on 16th August at 12 pm at George’s Bargain Centre on Spring Bank. We invite people to join us with us to celebrate Spring Bank Art and learn more about the project.
Photo Credits: Sergej Komkov, Anete Sooda