The Avondale Mural Project Story
Published: 13 May 2021 to 31 December 2098
In early 2020, Julian Dallimore, Activity Coordinator, had an idea of raising funds to facilitate the creation of a feature wall mural down the length of the main communal garden here on Avondale.
Many had expressed thoughts on the imposing feeling generated by the high boundary walls, which are quite necessary, but harsh in their presentation.
Julian told us all about the story from this moment, to achieving the wonderful mural in the Avondale garden.
Upon doing some research, I made contact with a graffiti artist named 'Skeg', aka Matt, whom was a Hull-based sprayer. I had heard of him as he had done many highly creative, environment enhancement pieces in the area.
I invited Skeg to the unit to meet with me and to discuss my plan, giving him some basic outlines and boundaries to work with. I explained that I wished for the wall and fence to be softened by colour and design, and provide a view of sorts, so that it feels kinder and more welcoming. For the hard edges to blend into the garden planting we had done.
Matt went off and made some sketches of ideas. Then, with patients whom were present at the time, had a vote on the selection of designs and a couple were chosen out of the options.
Now we had the idea in place, the costings were estimated for materials and a target for the fundraising was set.
I knew I needed to do a suitable solo challenge that would attract enough attention and interest to hopefully reach the target and based on previous experiences, I was a major fan of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Having done the 3 peaks challenge several times before, I wanted something challenging and arduous, so I eventually decided to do as many full circuits of ascending and descending Pen -y- Ghent as possible, in 12 hours.
The challenge was set and fundraising began!
In August, I travelled to the location and got myself started. By the end of the 12 hour period, I had managed to make 6 full circuits, ascent and descent, of the route from Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
In total, I walked 36 miles and climbed a height of 4164m.
It was hard but very satisfying! One complete circuit I did wearing scrubs, mask and gloves, which did wonders for the engagement from fellow walkers on the route, who stopped me and enquired as to what I was doing, and I found out later that some went on to donate!
All in all, the fundraising was highly successful, and thanks to the kindness and generosity of donators, I covered the costs of all materials needed to complete the work.
After the challenge was done, we arranged for Skeg to come in and paint the wall. He arrived on site with his artist associate Mike, and the work began.
Over the next day we took photos of the image being created. Shapes formed, outlines laid and colours appeared. It was at this point that I knew this was going to be a successful transformation.
A day and a half later, the work was complete. The full length of one side of the garden was in full colour with an organic theme using calm colours and shapes, flowing and natural. It looked amazing.
The response from staff and patients about the new mural was sensational. Everyone was extremely positive about the new look and it was received with warmth, appreciation and gratitude.
The mural has changed the atmosphere of the garden, and greatly improved the patient and staff environment. It is a marker of things to come and an indicator of our ability for positive change – overall, a space we are now proud of!
From this point, further efforts have been made from both staff and patients in regard to rejuvenating the garden, and adding many more plants and bulbs, and tasking more care of what stock was already there. It is still a work in progress, but with some commitment and effort, the intention to further enhance the environment of Avondale continues.
The plan now is in future opportunities, to add further coloured wall sections bringing in complementary colours that will connect around the garden walls, continuing to soften and blur the boundaries.
With enthusiasm and energy, an air of creativity and thrift, we will continue to develop the other gardens throughout the unit and beyond the perimeters outside.
Onward and upward!