Cotswold pupils create subway masterpiece

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Cotswold pupils create subway masterpiece

Cotswold children have transformed a graffiti-strewn underpass into a welcoming work of art - using more than 130,000 mosaic tiles.

The community project, to brighten up the subway between Watermoor and Kingsmead, Cirencester, involved hundreds of pupils from a total of 26 schools.

Working together with students of Cirencester College, the youngsters have recreated their own versions of masterpieces from Van Gogh's Starry Night and Monet's Waterlilies to Gaugin’s Native Women and Andy Warhol's Flowers.

The project was sparked by Cotswold District Council staff who felt something needed to be done to tackle offensive graffiti in the busy underpass.

Community Safety Manager Les Haines joined forces with Cirencester College Community Art lecturer Debbie Stirling to bring the idea to life.

She recruited a team of 30 mosaic students who spent long evenings over three months cutting up tiles into the 130,000 pieces needed for the 26 mosaics, which each measure 3ft by 4ft. The volunteers then went into schools teaching the children how to make mosaics producing some amazing pieces of work.

CDC had previously worked with Debbie on a graffiti-beating mural with pupils from Kingshill School at the Golden Farm bridge underpass, Cirencester. This project was led by artist Dan Stirling who specialises in large-scale street art.

Funds left over from this project, provided by the Council through the Safer Cotswolds Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, have been put towards the underpass scheme.

Gloucestershire County Council paid for the paint to cover up the graffiti before the mosaics were fixed in place. The painting, and some of the work to hang the mosaics, was done by young people serving community sentences.

Debbie said: “The children have done a fantastic job and the subway now looks amazing. It's been a great community effort and the mosaics are especially fitting for Cirencester, with its wonderful examples from Roman times on display in the town.

“I'd like to say a big thank you to all the mosaic students from Cirencester College who volunteered to take part and to the Council for their support to help get this project off the ground but most importantly to all the local children who were so enthusiastic and worked so hard to produce such inspirational work.

Cllr Clive Bennett, Cotswold District Council Portfolio holder for Strong and Safe Communities, said: “The underpass is an essential amenity, used by hundreds of people every day. It's the only safe way to cross the busy dual carriageway and the mosaics make the journey for walkers and cyclists much more welcoming and pleasant.

“Young people often get a bad press, but this project shows how the majority have a sense of pride in their surroundings and want to help look after it.

“Graffiti is mindless vandalism that spoils the environment, which we all work so hard together to try to keep clean and safe. Safer Cotswolds is tackling the problem through projects like these and I hope people will respect the tremendous work of the children involved.”

* If you want to report graffiti in the Cotswold District, please contact the Council on 01285 623000.

Posted : 03/07/2006 12:13:59

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