A project right up my street!

large street mural of poppies for Living Streets

Working as a Community Artist for Living Streets

I am really thrilled to be working as an associate for Living Streets, a national walking charity. With part-funding from Merton Council I am working with three Mitcham schools, helping them to develop three road murals. It is a unique project that will bring colour and design into the street environment this summer.

Cranmer, SS Peter & Paul and Bond Primary are all Mitcham primary schools that look out on to dangerous roads with heavy traffic. It has been shown in other countries that such colourful murals cause drivers to behave more cautiously and should help them have a greater awareness of the presence of children on foot or cycling nearby.

Mitcham has lots of beautiful green areas and heritage but this can sometimes be overlooked by the presence of the heavy traffic. As an artist in the community, primarily inspired by my walks in nature, it is my goal to open the children’s eyes to the beautiful world around them. The murals will be designed by the children, inspired by nature in the local environment as a reference.

A girl holding a giant dandelion
William Morris design

William Morris Inspiration

I also wanted to make reference to the fact that the brilliant Victorian textile designer William Morris and his associates did their printing at Merton Priory. Liberty fabrics once had a print works at Merton Abbey Mills. Morris used nature for his inspiration, and his designs are still very fashionable today.

Like Morris, I am an artisan using nature for my inspiration, although the manufacturing process is much faster now. Morris used carved blocks for each of his colours, where as now fabrics can be printed digitally.

You can see my range of prints, scarves and cushions on my website: https://www.jo-sharpe.co.uk/jo-sharpe-surrey-artist/

As well as creating the design, the school children will learn about safe routes to school and the benefits to the environment and their own health of walking and cycling. Residents and families will be invited to take part in helping to paint the mural on the road while the road is closed for a day in August.

The mural painting will be complemented by Living Streets’ WOW Walk To School programme, which rewards children who walk and cycle to school each week with a monthly badge. It’s a fun scheme that schools appreciate, and children love. WOW has been shown to successfully reduce levels of traffic around schools. This improves air quality and, with fewer children being driven to school, makes life easier for residents.

I am so pleased to be working on such an amazing project

If you would like to take part in the street mural design project, please me on info@jo-sharpe.co.uk  or follow our facebook page  for more details.

I am passionate about art in the community. I run regular art and STEAM classes and workshop for children (and adults). Click here to find out more/book these classes. A