Release Date: 19 July 2012
A grim underpass in Stroud has been transformed, thanks to art students at Archway School, who have just completed a masterpiece of public art - a massive 25m x 2m mural under Dudbridge Bridge.
The mural is part of the Cotswold Canals Knowledge programme, which uses the newly restored canal as a basis for learning. 42 students, aged 11-14, have been working on the project since March. Each of the 20 separate panels, which connect together, were designed by the students themselves and depict Stroud scenes and history, especially relating to the canal.
Jonathan Hill, Archway's Head of Art & Design said "The project involved an incredible amount of team work in a difficult situation. This was the kids' first proper job - and it's a big one. Since starting in March, they've been working in pairs to design the mural, produce mock-ups and then paint it for real. The preparation was brilliant, they all took a very mature attitude and weren't at all like a group of 11-14 year olds."
Student Reem Subkhi, aged 14, of Rodborough said "Working on this has been a great experience. It's a big scheme and it's nice to be able to share it with the public." Her colleague Kate Hawkins, also 14, of Ruscombe said "Everyone had to work really hard to make all the panels match up."
The mural was the brainchild of Paul Weller, Volunteer Assistant with Stroud District Council's Canal Team, who said "The kids were enthusiastic from the very start and have worked really hard and been very motivated. The mural really brightens up the underside of the bridge and will be best seen by boaters on the canal."
The mural would not have been possible without the generosity of sponsors. Bailey Paints of Thrupp kindly supplied all the point, while canal contractors Galliford-Try paid for other materials. Assistance was also given by Olympic Cars, Kleenzeen, Cainscross Parish Council, Sainsbury's and MacDonalds.
While the mural was being painted, another 60 Archway students were busy on canal-related projects. One group erected a fence at Hilly Orchard to give privacy to nearby residents, whilst another upgraded a length of towpath at Frome Gardens to a width of 2m, giving access to wheelchair users, buggy users and cyclists.
Unfortunately, the public will have to wait until October to see the mural, as the canal towpath under the bridge is currently closed whilst Dudbridge Locks are rebuilt and a landing stage constructed to allow waiting boats to tie up.