Arts at the heart of student mural commissioned at major shopping centre
Artwork by University of Wolverhampton degree students studying at the School of Art has bagged pride of place at the Mander Shopping Centre in Wolverhampton city centre.
Two current students and a graduate of the University have worked collaboratively to produce a large-scale mural on behalf of the University’s Arena Theatre – aiming to promote their offering to the diverse and inclusive community of Wolverhampton.
The Arena Theatre is part of the University of Wolverhampton's city campus. The venue's main auditorium seats 150 people and is used for both professional touring shows and for local community groups.
The team of artists included two final year Illustration students, Charlotte Webb and Vicky Crowther, and graduate of the University, Lauren Higgins, who recently graduated with a degree in Illustration from the University’s School of Art.
The huge mural encompasses a number of key themes showcasing the work of the Arena Theatre, with the message - whatever your age, gender, race, ability, disability or sexual orientation, everyone is welcome to enjoy theatre and the arts.
The team of three first met at a coffee shop to put together some ideas for the large-scale design, utilising their different strengths to come up with the initial concept, before getting to work on the final project at the Mander Centre.
The live project took approximately 8 weeks to complete and was hand painted from start to finish, with the work predominantly taking place after hours once the Mander Centre had closed its doors to the public.
Neil Reading, Artistic Director at the Arena Theatre, said: “The Arena is delighted to be working with students from the University to present this mural. The opportunity to promote our little corner of Wolverhampton and the diversity of work that we do was too good to pass up and we are so grateful to the students for their incredible artwork. We hope that the work will be enjoyed by the people of the city and that many of them will come and explore everything we have on offer at the Arena Theatre over the next 12 months and beyond.”
Vicky said: “It’s been a great experience for me. I’ve never worked on a project of this scale before and I want to go into set design, so I’m really grateful for the opportunity from both the Arena Theatre and the School of Art.
“The key messages of this artwork are definitely diversity and inclusion, that the Arena Theatre is still here, it’s still open and it’s for everyone.”
Lauren, who recently graduated from the University said: “It feels great to be back at the University after graduating, it feels like I’m back home. This work is directly related to my practice, so I’m really happy that the University got in touch with me to collaborate on this exciting project.”
Charlotte said: “Having the opportunity from the School of Art and the Arena Theatre to work on this means that I can have a portfolio of work to showcase when I leave University. The opportunities the university has provided for me have really made me feel young again. I couldn’t be any prouder to see this project come to life and working with Lauren and Vicky has been a really rewarding experience.”
The work is on display in the Mander Centre on the Ground Floor, underneath Matalan and next to the entrance on Victoria Street.
Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days. Specific information about courses in the School of Art and Screen School can be found on the website.
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