Barnet Council are collaborating with Brent Cross Shopping Centre to facilitate a large-scale community mural designed by GCSE and A-Level students from Whitefield School. The striking, colourful mural will run along the hoardings near Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
brent cross community mural
The students’ art piece reflects three themes: celebration, the local community through a young person’s eyes, and forests. The forest theme relates to the exact location of the mural; on the site of Christmas tree store, Pines and Needles.
As part of the design process, students submitted an array of paintings and photographs in response to a competition the school ran - they could either create a brand-new artwork or choose one of their existing artworks which they felt related to the themes.
The artworks have since been digitally merged to create a colourful, mixed-media collage of their creations.
The mural, which is due to go on show from the end of July, is intended to enliven the area and to discourage graffiti at the site.
Chris Barnes, General Manager of Brent Cross, said:
“The last year has reinforced the importance of working together as a community, and it’s been great to be able to collaborate with the Whitefield School on this project. As well as enlivening the area, it also showcases the incredible imagination and talent of our local young people.”
Tina Harris, Deputy Headteacher of Whitefield School, said:
“It is always exciting to work with a blank canvas, and our Head of Art and Design Ms Hodgson thought of creating a digital mural. By using images of the students’ artworks to revamp the area, it connects them to the local community as well as showcasing their talent.
“As well as submitting pieces for inclusion, students have also been directly involved in the composition of the final piece, and they’ve expressed their excitement at showcasing their art at such a central location.”
Councillor Dean Cohen, Chairman of the Council’s Environment Committee, said:
“The Council’s Street Scene team works hard to remove graffiti and fly-posting and has two dedicated teams with specialist equipment for removing tags and posters etc. This initiative was developed by the council in conjunction with Brent Cross Shopping Centre following discussions on how to tackle graffiti and improve areas that experience this issue around Brent Cross and the A406 flyover. The mural designed by the GCSE art students of Whitefield School is fantastic and will help our efforts to tackle graffiti and will certainly enhance the look and feel of one of the key gateways into the Borough”.
Councillor David Longstaff, Chairman of Children, Education and Safeguarding Committee, said:
“This is a glorious opportunity for students to publicly showcase their artistic imagination, originality and design skills. We hope this project can be replicated in other parts of the Brent Cross scheme, as it will provide excellent opportunities for more young people in art and design to learn, gain experience and increase their confidence”.
The mural installation coincides with Children’s Art Week (29 June – 19 July), a national campaign run by Engage, also known as the National Association for Gallery Education, to encourage schools and communities to plan and provide art activities and opportunities for children and young people. This year’s themes include “The Natural World” and "Connecting Across Generations", which the Whitefield students have depicted in their art.
The students will feature in a short film produced by Pictures For The People, a social enterprise that trains and works with unemployed young people from Job Centre Plus and the Prince’s Trust.
The community project will also be documented on Barnet Council’s youth Instagram page, @BarnetYouth_.