Shropshire Star

New base for Shrewsbury homeless charity gets splash of colour with giant mural

A Shrewsbury charity's new home has been decorated by a local artist, bringing a splash of colour and hope to promote its good work.

Last updated
Wendy Faulkner from the Ark, Lara Sidell from SY Homes and Suzanne Johnson at Shrewsbury Ark

The Shrewsbury Ark, which supports homeless and vulnerable people, is in the process of moving into its new home in Castle Foregate and hired Matt Sewell to paint a mural on its outside wall.

Emily Bell, chairman of the Ark, said it was great to get Matt on board and bring a splash of colour to the front of the building.

"I have known Matt a long time and long been a fan of his work," Emily said. "We had that amazing space you can see from lots of places, it's quite big. The great thing is it can be seen from the trains as you leave town. It's lovely.

"Matt is always looking for places to paint, his work is really supportive of local businesses and charities.

"Matt even talked to our clients and people who use our services but he is an artist so we left it to him to do what he does best.

"Birds are his thing so it looks great. We love the dove as a symbol of peace and hope, it's universal."

She said it was a community effort to get the mural completed as SY Homes were helping the charity already with the frontage of the new Ark and put up scaffolding.

It turned out Matt could then use this structure to paint the big wall.

She added: "Shrewsbury BID provided us with paint. So it was a real community effort to get us to this point.

"It's all about improving the town and making it look nice. We are very lucky we have a real support network here. People understand what we are trying to do."

The giant wall mural on Shrewsbury's Ark

The Ark is hoping to move into its new home at the start of next month.

Emily added: "This is the first building we have ever owned ourselves – before we were using buildings the council kindly let us use.

"This move will make a huge difference to Shrewsbury and vulnerable people."

Matt Sewell, the artist, said he wanted to create a colourful message of hope to reflect the charity's work but also add his own personal touch.

"I was working with the brief from the Ark in mind and trying to come up with the perfect design," he explained.

"It ended up that I had a previous design I had come up with for a small fundraising project I helped with. I tried to come up with something different for the Ark's wall but couldn't find anything I liked.

"So I ended up going back to this old design. It was a long road to get there but also a short one as I already had the design.

"The planning and logistics took longer than the actual painting. I had to wait for sunny days when the rain wouldn't just wash off the paint straight away.

"I have been painting all over the place for years and have always wanted to bring more street art and murals to Shrewsbury. It's great because the BID have really supported it."