Ark students bring a little colour to Wembley Park!

On Wednesday 21st March 50 of Ark Academy’s finest artists brought their unique brand of flair and vibrancy to the grey streets of Wembley, creating a 50 metre mural beside Wembley’s Designer Outlet.

The project began in February when the school was approached by Wembley Park, asking if we would like to take part in this excellent initiative. Of course we jumped at the chance to get our students out of the classroom and get their artwork into the public arena. Three workshops were organised with Global Street Art – a collective of professional artists normally commissioned by brands such as Nike to work on their advertising. Two of their finest artists visited the school to introduce our students to the world of street art and get our students thinking. Their brief was simple in essence, to design a letter inspired by anything, but as is often the case, too much choice makes decisions difficult. However the GSA artists humbly aided by the Art department staff helped channel the students’ ideas into meaningful solutions. GSA took the students’ work way to organise into the chosen slogan and the stage was set.

Following the aftermath of the Beast from the East, the week leading up to the big day had been plagued with snow and freezing temperatures. The tension was high. Then, from behind the clouds came the sun, and brought with it an excellent day for painting. Markas, a year 10 student arrived at the department early. He had visited the site the previous day and photographed the site. GSA has sketched out the student’s designs with great finesse. An instant buzz hit the atmosphere. The students arrived thick and fast for the briefing and before long we were underway.

The plan was to take 3 groups to the site across the day, so with excited year 10 GCSE students we headed off. Upon arrival we were met with suitcases full of paint, safety equipment and even a sound stage with DJ. The students suited up and were ready.

Mr Paton gave a brief demonstration on the use of spray paints as it was a foreign technique to all of Arks artists, then they were thrown in the deep-end. The music started, the students armed themselves with paint, delegated jobs and set about painting. As none had done any spray painting before they were initially hesitant and a little heavy handed, but in true Ark style they rapidly progressed and were soon flinging paint with great dexterity and confidence, aided by 3 of GSA’s most talented practitioners. The students worked at a great rate, which was lucky because the letters were huge, each one standing 8 foot high and 4 across!

All too soon the first session was over, but the students had the chance to step back and admire their work. A beautiful fusion of ideas, colour and typography. Reluctantly the students returned to school, but luckily for the Art department staff there were still two sessions to go. We returned twice more. Each time the groups continued to impress us with their perseverance and unquenchable thirst for perfection. Passers-by stopped to admire the scene, commenting on how impressed they were with the students’ talents and creativity.

After a lot of hard work by all involved we were finished and what a sight to behold. So many different ideas and artists working together to create something whole. The feedback we received from the public and GSA was amazing. All were very impressed by how the Ark students had conducted themselves throughout the whole initiative. We the Art department were also very proud of all they had achieved embodying what we hold dear.  They showed great courage in taking risks and getting their work out into the public domain, making the world we live in a little brighter.