Southsea volunteers put art and soul into work on painted mural

LOOKING GOOD Artist Mark Lewis works with a team of volunteers, from left, Donna Snell, Vince Winstanley, Paul Gregory, Matthew Ashcroft, Ben Wright, and Daniela Capriati. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123017-2)

LOOKING GOOD Artist Mark Lewis works with a team of volunteers, from left, Donna Snell, Vince Winstanley, Paul Gregory, Matthew Ashcroft, Ben Wright, and Daniela Capriati. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123017-2)

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ONE of Southsea’s most visible landmarks has been given a new lease of life thanks to an extensive art project.

A group of local artists and volunteers have grouped together to re-render the vibrant Strand City map mural in Clarendon Road.

They have spared hundreds of hours painstakingly working to ensure the mural becomes one of the south coast’s most attractive paintings.

The project is the brainchild of Mark Lewis, who runs the Lodge Arts Centre in Victoria Park.

It has encountered problems along the way, including lack of funding and wet summers, but the scaffolding has been removed and Mr Lewis is all set to officially unveil the design on October 12.

The mural colourfully depicts some of the city’s most important figures, such as Jean de Gisors, founder of Portsmouth, Bill Sargent, founder of the Portsmouth Housing Association, and school founder John Pounds.

They all help to create a scroll map detailing the city as it is now and how it will be in the future.

Mr Lewis said: ‘I just love to teach people the tricks of the trade and share that appreciation you get when you transform and brighten up an area in the community, so the more people who can walk past and say “I helped paint that” the better for me.

‘It also looks good in any artist’s portfolio to help get future work. All too often artists are parachuted in by the elite to dictate what art should be to the masses. What we do is real community public art and one that is forever changing.’

He added: ‘Murals have a dramatic impact not only economically but also whether consciously or subconsciously on the feelings and attitudes of passersby because when you see grey, you think grey. If nothing else we are keeping the sense of wonder alive in the world.’

Cllr Terry Hall, Portsmouth City Council ward representative for Eastney and Craneswater, has been involved in the project.

She said: ‘It looks lovely already. There have been tourists taking photos of it. It’s a real focal point and it will be a great asset to Southsea and the city.’

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