LOOK out – and up – for the new mural inspired by the 1970s’ Coppergate archaeological dig, painted on the side of the Fenwick store, at the Coppergate Centre, St Mary’s Square, York.
Commissioned by York BID (Business Improvement District) and designed by York-born artist Leah Pendleton, the mural is part of an ongoing programme to tell stories that reflect York’s history and identity through a mural trail, to be launched this summer.
It joins the murals on Foss Walk, York Barbican, Coney Street, and Queen Street – all commissioned or supported by York BID – and follows the launch of York BID’s Colour & Light project at York Art Gallery, celebrating the city’s “built heritage” through a large-scale outdoor projection that can transforms the gallery frontage at Exhibition Square from 6pm to 9pm nightly until February 25.
Rachel Bean, project manager at York BID, is leading the mural trail. “York’s 2000-year history is evident everywhere you look, but Leah’s design reminds us that we are all an important part of that history and have something to contribute,” she says.
“This is the third mural commissioned by York BID in the last 12 months, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Coppergate Centre and Fenwick for their support”.
The new 42m² mural was created by Leah in her trademark style that combines bold typography with playful illustration. “The design was inspired by photographs of the Coppergate dig, where you can see layers of history being unearthed,” she says.
“I wanted to interpret the history of Coppergate in a contemporary way using brightly coloured lettering. I’ve used the phrase ‘make history every day’ to highlight that each small story contributes to how a place is built and evolves over time.”
The mural features bold lettering formed from different coloured layers, inspired by the nine metres of archaeological layers discovered during the Coppergate dig in the 1970s.
The design celebrates the idea that York’s varied history provides solid foundations for the present and future. The characters dotted around the mural highlight the importance of individual action, while the artefacts represent the deposits unearthed during the dig.
David Jennings, chief executive of York Archaeology, notes that the dig was not only influential for York, but for “the way museums present their collections across the world”.
“It is wonderful to see the dig represented in this way as a reminder of the remarkable archaeological heritage that we have, particularly on a site that is world-renowned for its rich deposits and incredible preservation of items from the Viking Age,” he says.
Coppergate Centre manager Prajay Shah says: “The new mural is a great addition to the Coppergate Centre and shows why York is such a special place to visit. We were delighted to support this project and further enhance the great experience offering that we have here.”
Discover more about the York Mural Trail at: https://www.theyorkbid.com/york-mural-trail/
Leah Pendleton: the back story
YORK-BORN artist, highly experienced muralist and sign painter, now living in Edinburgh. Her work can be seen in many York establishments, such as Spark: York, Ambiente Tapas and the soon-to-be Criminally Good Books, on Colliergate, York.
Follow Leah on Instagram at @LeahPendletonDesigns.