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Town Centre Underpasses to Get New Look

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Children from Port Talbot schools are working on murals which will be used to brighten up three town centre underpasses as part of a project aimed at reducing the spread of crude graffiti.

A professional street artist is working with children at Port Talbot’s St Joseph’s Junior School, Sandfields Primary School, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Rhosafan and St Joseph’s Comprehensive School.

The project involves design sessions and creative writing workshops and some of the themes being explored so far include the story of “working class martyr” Dic Penderyn, endangered species of birds and bees, saving the planet and inspirational famous people.

This initiative has been financed by two Aberavon Ward councillors and is one of 107 projects supported so far by the Members’ Community Fund.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Street Art Working Group has investigated the need for designated Street Art Zones which can be uniquely linked to the forthcoming Plaza Centre and which build on the interest created by the “Taibach Banksy”.

The project is solely a pilot to define the idea in a managed way and is not intended to set a precedent for the decoration of all subways. The initiative is aimed at arresting a worsening situation in which below ground pedestrian thoroughfares are being systematically defaced by often offensive, unauthorised graffiti – making Port Talbot less attractive to shoppers and visitors.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees, said:

“This project is intended to improve the public realm, make the townscape more attractive and create more vibrancy and ‘pride in place’.

“It is hoped the children, sufficiently empowered, will take ownership of their accomplishments, so cutting the risk of further defacement of local Safe Routes to School.”

Work in the three tunnels involved in the project, which are well used thoroughfares between Port Talbot’s Multi Storey Car Park and the town’s Civic Centre, will include erasing and covering over graffiti with the new images developed by pupils. The children will be tutored on the use of spray paints and will complete stencilled outlines of the preferred images.

The finished designs and completed artwork will be over- sprayed with a heavy duty anti – vandal lacquer which will protect them from further defacement.

Members of the public are being asked to be particularly vigilant when the underpasses are being given their facelift.

The timetable for the work by the children, who will be under the watchful eye of the street artist, will be between 10.00am and 3pm on the:-

  • 5th and 6th February – Underpass One (Wall One) -leading from the Shopping Centre to the Civic Centre.
  • 18th and 19th February – Underpass One (Wall Two) – leading from the Shopping Centre to the Civic Centre.
  • 4th and 5th March – Underpass Two – leading from Llewellyn Street to the Civic Centre.
  • 13th and 17th March – Underpass Three – leading from the Civic Centre towards Cwmafan Road.

Areas will be cordoned off with cones and barrier tape and there will be limited access through the tunnels when the children work in their designated underpass.