A giant duck, sheep, shoe, and local sayings are just some of the elements that now adorn the walls of one of Mansfield Station’s underpasses, as part of a new mural.
The artwork, created by street artist duo Lick of Paint, has also been added to 34 panels along the two platforms.
Lick of Paint artists Peachzz and Kunstity led workshops with Year 5 students from Sutton Road Primary and Nursery School, Mansfield to develop ideas for what should feature in the vibrant and playful artworks.
The idea to create the new artworks came about after the state of the underpass and platforms were identified as a barrier to people accessing the station and nearby areas of the town. The partnership wanted to make the space feel safer and more welcoming, as well as enabling young people to make their mark.
The Mansfield Railway Art Project has been funded by the Robin Hood Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP), Community Rail Network, East Midlands Railway, Cross Country Trains, Nottinghamshire County Council, and Mansfield District Council, with match-funding from First Art with funding from Arts Council England. First Art has also produced and managed the project in partnership with the Robin Hood Line CRP, Sutton Road Primary and Nursery School, Network Rail, and Mansfield Town Football Club in the Community.
The designs reference some of Mansfield’s history: the sheep and ball of wool are a nod to the town’s textiles industry, the shoe a reminder of Mansfield Shoe Company, while the cow references the former cattle market, and the fruit is a link to the present-day market; the flora and fauna are some of those found in the Nottinghamshire area. There are also some familiar, and not so familiar sayings.
A giant duck with the words ‘Ay up’ greets you in the underpass, while up on the platform, whimsical sayings suggested by the children include ‘Be more butterfly’, ‘Be more Mansfield’, and ‘What a day to play’.
Lick of Paint explained the decision to include these in the artwork: “We felt the ideas from the children added to the magic and wonder of the overall designs, creating some charm and life in these areas.”
Lick of Paint worked on site over several days to complete the mural, painting everything by hand. The artwork installed on the platform panels has been printed on specialist vinyl.
Chair of Robin Hood CRP, Cllr Duncan McGregor, said: “It gives me great pleasure to see the project at Mansfield Station complete. The engagement with the local school children involved in the design of the artwork has been invaluable. The project would not have been possible without the strong partnership that has been created over the past two years.”
Councillor Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth at Mansfield District Council, said: “We are thrilled to see this area of the town centre revitalised with beautiful artwork from school children and local artists.
“It has completely transformed the space, and I hope as commuters and visitors to Mansfield walk past it on their way to the platform, they will take the time to enjoy it.”
Karl Greenwood, Director of First Art, said: “We’re bowled over by the new artworks. The difference they’ve made has been phenomenal. The input from the students at Sutton Road Primary and Nursery School has been a key part of the project – it was so important young people were involved in helping to select the artists and shape the design. And this shines through in the finished piece.
“The underpass was kept open during the painting, and many people commented on how much better it looked. The designs certainly bring a smile and that’s always got to be a good thing.”
A small exhibition of the students’ work for the project is featured in the First Art shop situated in Four Seasons Shopping Centre, Mansfield. Opening times for the exhibition will be available at www.firstart.org.uk.