Life-sized creations, representing aspiring artists’ creativity, links and affinity with Bolton have brightened up the town centre.
Following the demolition of properties on Newport Street, Great Moor Street and Johnson Street, hoardings have been erected around the upper level of the town’s interchange site.
As part of a joint scheme between the University of Bolton and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the hoardings display artwork created by Fine Art and Textile Design degree students.
Each of the 36 students involved was asked to create a life-sized self-portrait with a design that reflected their very own personal link to both the university and the town.
Asked to incorporate a bright, bold use of colour and pattern, the students’ aim was to make the area surrounding the interchange much more pleasant and visually engaging for passers-by and draw attention to development of the site.
Hoardings were recently erected ahead of the start of construction work on the interchange, which is being developed by TfGM and Bolton Council.
The £48m project, which is being funded through the Greater Manchester Transport Fund, will see a brand new, modern and fully accessible interchange built opposite the current train station on Trinity Street, with the two facilities linked by a new enclosed pedestrian footbridge.
The scheme will support Bolton Council’s Town Centre Transport Strategy and will also include a cycle hub as part of a Greater Manchester-wide cycling initiative.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “The interchange will provide an up-to-date transport facility for commuters and it is a key part of our town centre strategy. The artwork brightens up the area and it means that when you’re driving or walking along Newport Street, you’re not just faced with a construction site. The students have worked hard on the designs and we’ve already had good feedback from local businesses about them.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “I think that the use of the hoardings to showcase local artists’ work is an excellent idea and one that not only helps further integrate the project with the Bolton community, but also makes the surrounding area much more visibly engaging.
“I am very impressed with the students’ designs. I am sure that their talents will draw attention to this fantastic project that will provide better links between bus and rail services, as well as improved waiting areas, passenger facilities, accessibility, information, and safety and security.”
Alan Buckingham, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Programme Leader for BA and MA Fine Art at the University of Bolton, said: “Projects in other city centres have involved artists using the hoardings put up around building sites. Artwork on the boards helps to make the spaces much more engaging and bearable for the public who have to see the hoardings every day.”
The students were delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute to such a large public display.
Liam Ainscough, 40, from Bolton said: “It’s good as an art student to put something back into the community as well as showcase the work we do on the University of Bolton Fine Art course.”
Jody Middleton, 21, from Leeds said: “It’s so exciting to know that people are actually seeing my work. As an art student it's one of the most desirable things that can happen and I'm very grateful for the opportunity.”
Amy Agnew, 19, from Bolton said: “I’m very happy and excited to have my work on display for the public. I've never had my work on public display before and I hope that I will get to do it again someday.”