THE No 4 Church Lane Café in a “hidden city-centre corner” is joining York’s new urban art plan.
Tucked away just off Coney Street, the café has commissioned Guardians Of York perpetrators Art Of Protest Projects to deliver a shot of vibrant colour in the form of a geometric painted mural, designed by the projects’ in-house team of Brenna Allsuch and Natasha Clarke.
“The new mural has instantly changed the landscape and vibe of the area and added a sense of playful excitement,” says Brenna. “The fresh splash of paint speaks for itself and invites patrons to enjoy a brew and a butty while bringing a new sense of identity to the area.”
Café owner Tess Harrison says: “I couldn’t be happier with the delivery of this wonderful mural and the smiles it has brought to my everyday regular customers, as well as the new business it’s brought in.
“From the planning stages right through to the execution and final reveal, the team at AOP Projects has made this a really fun experience and it’s turned out to be an emotional journey for me as my shop front has a whole new vibe!”
This café frontage adds to AOP Projects’ portfolio of murals and art trails across York and beyond, most notably the Guardians Of York project in tribute to “lockdown heroes”, created by Brighton street art collective The Postman, that wrapped up this week.
“We’ve been working on some exciting things across Yorkshire, but we definitely place a priority on developing our home base: the city of York,” says project support manager Brenna.
“The crew is looking to add more urban art in the form of paintings, installations and interactive seating and lighting displays as York continues on its path to upgrading the city streets and creating an edgy and visually appealing vibe for both locals and tourists.
“Watch out for more projects hitting the streets in the coming months and visit our website at artofprotest.co.uk to learn more about upcoming events and urban art.”
Founder and director Jeff Clark sums up AOP Projects’ mission: “There is a real thirst here for continuing to make the city walls our canvas and to make York an urban art hot spot. This is our speciality, we liaise with artists and city planners to deliver world class-murals that tell stories and involve the community.”
Farther afield, AOP Projects have teamed up with Doncaster Creates and Doncaster Council to unveil a facelift to a derelict park in Doncaster, with support from Arts Council England and external grant funding.
“We’re excited to announce the reimagination of Baxter Park, Wheatley, through the use of street art, sustainable play structures and rewilding, completely transforming the landscape of this urban space, finished with naturalisation and grassing of the surrounding space” says Jeff.
Doncaster Creates and AOP Projects have commissioned Static, a London artist duo with Scarborough roots, to design a gable-end wall mural and apply “jaw-dropping horizontal floor paint” to the park’s grounds.
Wood worker and designer Lewis Morgan, from Doncaster, has designed and constructed an array of sustainable, functional wood play structures and created several innovative, visually striking bug hotels, dotted around the park. “These beneficial structures support biodiversity and offer a space for propagation, encouraging the natural ecology to flourish,” says Jeff.
To unify the space and facilitate the health of natural flora and wildlife, Street Scene, from Doncaster Council, have implemented a rewilding and grassing initiative to “bring ongoing growth to support the park’s aesthetic and ecological elements”.
“This multi-phased park relaunch and the engagement sessions that have guided the designs and outcomes have already sparked a lot of excitement, as the primary mission is to transform the landscape and narrative of this area in need of imagination and rediscovery,” says Jeff.
“The vision for Baxter Park, in Wheatley, is to be a place of play for families and children and to detract from antisocial behaviour that can be problematic in an urban park. Through public engagement and programmes to support a healthy space, this park will not only be visually appealing, but will give back to the community.”
Created with longevity in mind, Baxter Park will be a space where Doncaster locals and visitors can enjoy wildlife in an urban setting with a big, bold splash of colour and imagination.
“Art has always been about affecting the hearts and minds of the people who live in and among it,” says Jeff.
“The opportunity to take a space such as Baxter Park in Doncaster, which lacked investment, and turn it into what is now a world-leading urban art space was just too good to turn down.”
Mike Stubbs, creative director of Doncaster Creates, says: “We are thrilled to welcome Static to Doncaster and Lewis Morgan back to his hometown to support this project, which will enhance the park area and the local community.
“The collaboration with Doncaster Council is incredible: to see the fusion of art and nature in an urban setting. I’m really pleased to see kids playing footie in the park already.”
Static artists Craig Evans and Tom Jackson say: “We’re really pleased to be part of this project at Baxter Park. There’s sometimes scepticism about how much ‘painting a wall’ can change things, but once people see it being done, the majority respond positively.
“We’ve been working towards this project for over a year, and to finally be here and to see the way residents are responding, particularly in the wake of Covid and the restrictions on where people can go, feels rewarding, with people enjoying an area that otherwise seems to feel overlooked.”