Local residents and invited guests celebrated the official launch of the Whitchurch Community Arts Project, funded by SEEDA, yesterday at the White Hart. The winner of the project was Whitchurch Bollards put forward by John Buckley.
Julie Moss of the White Hart said, “Whitchurch bollards project is not just a stroke of a paintbrush – it is a stroke of genius!”
The artist and now its project manager, John Buckley started the evening’s festivities by taking everyone on a walk-about tour of the town centre to visit the 7 bollards that have already been painted. One more is in the process of being prepared for its new decoration and there’s even a ‘hidden’ eighth test-strip bollard. There are about 40 bollards around town that can be painted through the community-based scheme.
John Buckley said, “The turnout was incredible. A number of other towns and cities have decorated their bollards but this project is unique in its level of community involvement, as seen tonight.”
After returning to the White Hart, the landlord Andy Moss poured a pint of Bee’s Organic real ale and passed it to his wife Julie, who did the honour of ‘wetting the head’ of the two bollards that Arkell’s brewery sponsored in front of the White Hart. The bollards were painted by a local artist, Steve Miller, to resemble salt and pepper shakers.
Julie added, “The fantastic and far too modest Mr Buckley and Mr Miller are both amazing, I should also thank Arkell’s brewery for their enthusiasm and support and basically for letting us do it!”
Speaking at the reception afterwards, Whitchurch mayor, Councillor John Clark, said, “The decorated bollards are a fantastic project and it’s great to have them around town. It’s probably a lot easier to put a design down on paper than it is applying it to the bollard – congratulations to John and his team.”
Graham Burgess, Director of Arts for Whitchurch Arts said, “Like most gates and railings, bollards are black due to Queen Victoria’s edict that all such things should be painted black following the death of her beloved Albert. Recently the Bollards project in Whitchurch has sought to return to a more detailed study of their presence and to attempt to celebrate them in a more communal way.”
Graham continued, “The plain funeral black is being replaced with designs that allow those who have an interest to apply designs that have deeper meaning and more to do with the present than the past.”
Templates that the public can use to submit their bollard idea are available at the WhitchurchBollards.org.uk website.