Spalding street art wall set for green light
Campaigners look set to win their bid to establish a legal street art wall in Spalding after winning support from councillors.
Karl Barfoot and Adam Sadd presented a petition to the district council’s full meeting on Wednesday and spoke about the need for a space for the town’s budding artists.
The pair explained that they currently have to travel to Peterborough to express themselves, but want somewhere closer to home as an outlet for their creativity. The talented two-some said they needed no funding and could use a new wall to temporarily help promote events such as the Pumpkin Festival - with dates and times added.
Mr Barfoot said: “We are happy to maintain the area and keep it clean and if there’s anything offensive done we are happy to paint over it.”
Their existing artwork has attracted plaudits from far and wide - with examples including Captain Sir Tom Moore behind the Spalding Rugby Club building on St Thomas’ Road and a Harry Potter-themed design on Spalding Railway Station.
They said their work had not caused a rise in unwanted street art and so this was not to be feared.
Mr Sadd said: “The public reaction has been nothing but positive. It’s put Spalding on the map.”
Abstract artist Joey Lowe also attended and said people just wanted a space to express themselves, adding: “I don’t think it’s too much to ask in 2021.”
The idea was warmly received by members, who voted to set up a sub committee of the authority’s policy development panel to iron out the details of how the idea can work in practice. Although leader Gary Porter described it as ‘rattle can art’ he declared himself a ‘dinosaur’ and suggested the committee could meet in the coming days to avoid the idea being kicked into the long grass.
Coun Jim Astill said he supported the concept and spoke of the way in which displays in Peterborough had resonated with the public - particularly an image of the Prodigy’s Keith Flint which prompted a discussion on mental health.
Coun Angela Newton suggested there was a ‘therapeutic’ side to having a place for artists to express themselves, while Coun Tracey Carter praised the fact that the pair said they would maintain any legal street art wall that was established.
Coun Gary Taylor suggested Karl and Adam could come up with designs that celebrate the area’s history and identity, adding: “I believe we could work together and achieve something here.”
Coun Chris Brewis called for young people to be involved in creating the artwork, saying: “We might find this is one of the most beneficial things ever to come their way.”
Coun Rob Gibson, meanwhile, said artwork such as this could be added to the Fulney skate park and might prevent the rude graffiti this suffers.
Coun Harry Drury felt this could brighten up grot spots and become an attraction to bring people to the town.
That council work will begin next month, with a view to finalising the details of the legal wall at the start of 2022.
Policy development panel chairman Andrew Woolf promised to work on the project as quickly as possible.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Sadd said: “I didn’t think Spalding would ever get a wall but it’s looking like it will now. All of that effort has paid off.”
Mr Barfoot added: “I am shocked. It went better than expected.
“I couldn’t believe it - and didn’t think we would get 10/10 and everyone positive. I am really happy with the result.”
Both praised the hard work of Kay Arnold in helping the petition to attract more than 850 signatures.