You might have noticed a bit of colourful activity on Spring Bank of late. What’s going on? Well it’s all part of The True Colours of Spring Bank, a commission delivered by Artlink and funded by BTO and Hull City Council, with in-kind support from Crown Paints. 

Since 2018, Artlink has been working with communities on and around Spring Bank, one of our most diverse high streets. This has developed into a series of participatory visual art projects called Spring Bank Art, the latest phase being True Colours of Spring Bank, led by artist Sharon Darley.

Since June 2019, Hull residents have been voting online and on paper to select a series of colours to form a unique palette for Spring Bank which will then be used in a series of art projects in the area. This will create a good aesthetic and be a unique expression of the local area. Over 3,000 people took part in selecting the colours and now the palette is revealed and painting is well underway.

In tandem, Sharon has also been working with local residents around Spring Bank to develop a community design team. This group have worked with landlords in the area to pick out some buildings to repaint using colours from the palette, which may see the colours being used in all sorts of different ways in the area…

Shaz, the concept artist of True Colours, says:

“Creating a unique palette of colours for Spring Bank has allowed us to break down barriers of engagement, and reach as wide a number of people as we can across the community. Colour is a ‘leveller’; it cuts through class, religion, age, gender, culture. Most people, no matter who they are, have an opinion on their favourite colours. Our palette is been built by the community for the community. Practically, the palette will also create a unifying aesthetic up and down the street, as future works will refer to it.

“Our first job, to kick proceedings off, is to block-colour a number of tired-looking buildings with colours from the palette. This is a broad-stroke announcement that says to the community – ‘something’s happening!’ Cities and towns across the globe have variations of coloured streets (not just Ballamory), so why shouldn’t Hull, and why shouldn’t it be Spring Bank?”

The residents, community members and shop owners got enthusiastically involved in the consultation and design process, meeting on a regular basis to discuss the next stages of Spring Bank Art Project.

Geri, a resident of Spring Bank, says:

“It’s been great for us, as local residents, to be consulted about, and included in, the early planning stages of the Artlink Colours of Spring Bank project, thanks to project lead Magda Moses and lead artist Sharon Darley, liaising with us. Spring Bank has some very real social issues which we live with as residents, and similar to other areas of Hull, we are experiencing a high level of graffiti, mainly in the form of tagging.  But there are many positives about the area, which the local press sometimes overlooks with the printing of negative headlines. 

“We’re really excited about this project and hopeful that it will kick-start some positive change for the area, and that local residents and businesses will have something to be proud of as the project unfolds. We are a very mixed culture and the project has been really inclusive by representing all facets of the local community, which will be reflected by the artwork.  This area has some of the oldest, original Victorian houses which have been somewhat neglected over the last 15 years. We are hoping this project will brighten things up and be a precursor to some real investment in the area.”

In June Shaz spent a week in Collingwood Primary School delivering creative workshops focusing on colours and emotions with Key Stage 1. Over 200 children got involved in designing a Spring Bank mural, choosing the palette of Spring Bank and creating their own urban colour scheme for their neighbourhood.

As the True Colours are being painted on buildings, Hull-based artist Skeg is using some of the colours from the palette to develop a mural design – working collaboratively with members of Spring Bank Community Centre and the Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre on Barkley Street. This is being painted on the gable end of George’s Bargain Centre.