A STREET art mural dedicated to Coventry’s history and designed with the help of schoolchildren has been defaced prompting widespread anger.
Litter campaigner Emma Aspinall said she was ‘gutted’ after seeing the damage done by vandals and fly-tippers near her public artwork project.
She and her team of schoolchildren were close to completing the transformation of one of the city’s dullest and dirtiest walkways.
She and professional street artist, Dynamick, designed a 10-metre long mural dedicated to the city’s industrial history.
In preparation she has been clearing up fly-tipping and rubbish in a walkway connecting Gosford Park Primary School and Humber Avenue near the city centre for several months.
Emma is a community organiser and an official Keep Britain Tidy litter ambassador for Coventry.
She wants to discourage anyone else from dropping litter or leaving waste in the alley by creating the mural and making it more attractive.
But yesterday she tweeted an image showing one of the designs had been completely covered in graffiti – and then washed over in white paint.
And on Tuesday she took to Twitter to condemn the huge amount of waste which had been tipped on the walkway.
She told us: “Well obviously we have been looking after the area and keeping it clean.
“And on Tuesday I went down there and it was unbelievable how much rubbish was there.
“There were duvets, sky remotes, DVDs, even glue guns – everything you can imagine.
“Me and the caretaker from the school cleaned it because we knew it was like a green light and you would have everybody dumping their rubbish over there.
“But littering is getting really bad. It is throughout the city when you’re walking round at the minute – it’s very noticeable.”
Fly-tipping has seen an alarming rise in the city, increasing from 3,342 total incidents in 2016/17 to 4,704 in 2017/18.
And already in the first quarter of 2018/19, there has been more than 1,700 incidents.
“Then the next day I went again and that’s when I saw someone had spray painted,” Emma continued.
“It is sad. It hasn’t actually destroyed any of the work we’ve done but it has slowed us down because we will need to fix that part.
“There are workshops where people can learn how to do these things and follow it as a profession – an art.
“And we want people to take it forward, especially with UK City of Culture 2021 looking for budding artists.
“But to use the skill in this way is soul-destroying because there are other ways people can use it to express themselves.”
Once the mural is complete it will depict Coventry’s workers and their vital role in the car industry and the city’s post-war reconstruction.
The first design is a welder and the second will be a grinder – giving the wall the look of an assembly line.
After an appeal to raise £2,000 to cover the cost of the artwork and the clean-up, the transformation began last month.
Dynamick is known for his bold, colourful and thought-provoking designs and he has created the mural with the help of Gosford Park Primary School children.
The walkway is flanked on each side by industrial units and dull concrete walls which will act as the blank canvas.
A two-day workshop at the school enabled pupils to design their own street art stencils.
The majority of the money raised so far has come from West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson’s Active Citizens Fund.
He said: “Pleased to have supported this work, making a difference to the area.
“This project is also highlighting the great history of Coventry, one of the many reasons it will be City of Culture in 2021.”