Community Mural

Over 50 painters had a go at painting our Brierley Hillness community mural – which aims to capture the ‘spirit’ of the town.

You can get details of what images, memories and features you can see in the mural and why they were included. If you want to see how well you know Brierley Hill first, why not do our Mural Quiz – How well do you know Brierley Hill?

Community Mural from Jonathan Lee on Vimeo.

The mural was painted in Artspace, an empty shop unit just off Brierley Hill High Street, on temporary lease to Dudley Arts Council in partnership with the Adult and Community Learning Service at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Over 50 painters had a go at painting with DJ over fifteen workshops, ages ranging from 12 to over 65.

The artist’s brief was to work with members of the community to paint a mural which captured the ‘spirit’ of Brierley Hill – to include representations of the places, spaces and architecture within the town, and associated memories suggested by local people to create a piece of art which reflected what is distinctive, special and unique about Brierley Hill.

To engage in the theme of Brierley Hillness artist DJ first researched the history of the town and took pictures of buildings and landmarks which held historical significance.
Instead of early participants being faced with a blank wall, DJ painted some of the iconic building outlines to get the mural started. The mural would naturally evolve as people came forward with further suggestions for the content.

Click here to have a look at the Mural Development week by week.

It was challenging at first to find out what participants thought should go on the mural to capture the ‘spirit’ of the town – but after a few weeks and many landmarks appearing, they began to tell DJ what they thought was missing.

A discussion with members of the Mount Pleasant History Group.

Other local people who were not involved in painting, also made suggestions about what should feature. Their comments were fed through to DJ and he was sent photos. Members of Dudley MIND, who were regular visitors to Artspace, were asked to take photos of some of the missing places mentioned.

You can get details of what images, memories and features you can see in the mural and why they were included.

The workshops ran on Tuesdays between January and April 2011. We set aside Tuesdays for painting the mural, as Tuesdays are traditionally one of the busier days in the town. Artspace already ran workshops on Saturdays. However, we did not attract many painters on these days. We also ran a workshop on a Saturday, a Tuesday evening and during the school holidays. These additional times brought in greater numbers of painters and a wider variety of participants.

Programming workshops at a variety of times would have yielded greater numbers to the mural painting project. However, two ladies came to nearly every workshop, and a group from Dudley MIND joined us every two weeks. For the regulars, small numbers meant they were able to contribute more, and benefit from the opportunity.

The mural will have a permanent home in Brierley Hill Library from August 2011.

Download Approaches to Community Engagement and Lessons Learnt for a slightly extended and print ready version (PDF). Download a TEXT ONLY VERSION Approaches to Community Engagement and Lessons Learnt (Word).

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