Stunning new street art transforms York walkway

Leah Pendleton works on the street art in the Coppergate Centre, York. Photographs: York BID

A blaze of colour now greets shoppers in York thanks to this stunning work of street art.

The 42 sq m mural, covering a walkway at the Coppergate Centre, was today unveiled by the York BID (Business Improvement District).

Inspired by the history of the site, the work was created by York-born artist Leah Pendleton. It covers one of the walls of the Fenwick store in the shopping centre.

The street art is part of an ongoing programme to tell stories that reflect York’s unique history and identity through a mural trail, launching this summer.

It joins the murals on Foss Walk, York Barbican, Coney Street, and Queen Street – all commissioned or supported by the BID – and comes just days after the launch of York BID’s Colour & Light project at the York Art Gallery.

Before…
…during…
…and after

BID project manager Rachel Bean 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 said.

“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.”

Leah’s trademark bright, eye-catching style can be seen in the mural’s bold typography and playful illustrations.

Leah said: “The design was inspired by photographs of the Coppergate dig, where you can see layers of history being unearthed.

“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 overtime”. 

What a transformation!

The mural features bold lettering formed from different coloured layers, inspired by the 9m of archaeological layers discovered during the Coppergate dig in the 1970s.

It 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.

Chief executive of York Archaeology David Jennings said: “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.”

Manager of the Coppergate Centre Prajay Shah said: “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.” 

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