Waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust has worked with partners along the Walsall and Coventry canals to add to its street art trail in the West Midlands. The project is part of a national street art trail that transforms spaces alongside canals in England and Wales with the help of local artists and community groups.
Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, these new pieces of canal art have taken inspiration from the local community and its links with the canal.
In Walsall the new art installation has been created by We are Culla along the canal near Steep Bridge Way. The artwork was designed by Dawn Hamblett, a volunteer at the Trust, and shows a traditional working narrowboat being pulled by a horse.
In Coventry, the canal art has been installed by Midlands-based street art organisation BRINK Arts and was designed with the help of local school children in Foleshill. The art celebrates the cottage weaving industry and its link with the city and local people.
The art encourages local people to visit the canal and enjoy the work of local artists. It will tell the stories of the different communities who live along the canal.
Cities including Sheffield, Oxford, London, Leicester, and Birmingham already have street art along their canals, adding additional colour and life to the waterways.
Jon Horsfall, interim director for the West Midlands at Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s wonderful to see how art can help transform places and our canals are no different. Having these bright, fun murals along our waterways encourages people to come and visit and see for themselves why canals are special and feel the wellbeing benefits of spending time by the water.
“Our canals are enjoying a second gold age, used by more people and in more ways than the great Georgian canal engineers could ever have imagined. Our 250-year-old network brings much-loved wildlife into the heart of the diverse communities it runs through and is the vital green space used by millions of people in our towns and cities. It has an important role to play in the decades ahead, for the wellbeing of communities, protecting biodiversity and mitigating the effects of a changing climate.
“To protect and preserve these special places and ensure they don’t fall back into the dark days of dereliction and decline that was the story of the early and mid-20th century, we need Government, partners, funders, and the community to join us and raise the money and resources required to care for this amazing historic network.”
Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are delighted that our players have raised over 1 billion for great causes, including the preservation of our canals and well-being projects run by the Canal & River Trust.
“It’s also wonderful to see the national street art trail across the canals incorporating ideas from brilliant volunteers and artists telling stories of communities living along the canal. We hope this inspiring way of transforming less cared-for spaces alongside canals into beautiful places brings delight to boaters and towpath users for many years to come.”
Canal & River Trust projects are supported thanks to funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and awarded by the Postcode Earth Trust.
For more information on the Canal & River Trust and how you can volunteer or donate money to support our work please visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk