Skaters and artists join forces to create inspiring artwork at the Civic Centre

A spectacular mural by skaters and artists will transform the hoardings around Plymouth’s Civic Centre this week.

From Wednesday, designs created by local artists LoCi in collaboration with the city’s skating community – long associated with the plaza in front of the Civic Centre – are being brought to life along the hoardings on Civic Square and Royal Parade.

A network of organisations have come together to spark the idea in the hope of bringing some colour to the drab hoardings while recognising the importance of the local skating community.

The skaters, part of the Youth Committee from Prime Skatepark in Cattedown, have used the surrounding architecture and the Mayflower 400 year as their inspiration.

The Mayflower anniversary commemorates 400 years since the ship’s sailing from Plymouth. Reflecting on the fact the voyage did not chart a straight line to its final destination, the designs combine the ship’s path with shapes representing the routes skaters take around the city centre.

Civic Square has traditionally been the gathering point for protests in Plymouth. Given the Mayflower 400 programme is about giving a voice to all people, the design is intended to create a platform for the skating community by including spaces for the skaters to post their photography work.

The project, led by sector support organisation Plymouth Culture, is part of the preparations for the launch of the Mayflower 400 programme on 16 September 2020, the date four centuries ago when the ship sailed from Plymouth.

It will be brought to life by Plymouth art collective LoCi and overseen by Ben Borthwick, curator with local contemporary art venue Karst and arts organisation Take A Part.

Hailey Cattle, Regional Marketing Manager for Urban Splash, who own the building, said: “We have big plans for the Civic Centre and we know what an iconic building it is for the city so this striking, bold design is fantastic.

“We recognise the importance of the skater community to the building and the space so we are delighted they have been able to take ownership of this work.”

The Mayflower 400 programme has been significantly disrupted by Covid-19 but the full programme has been reshaped and rescheduled so that it can continue from this autumn through to summer 2021.

Adrian Vinken, chair of the Mayflower 400 National Compact, said: “Mayflower 400 has enabled many community projects to happen across the city and this project with skaters and artists is another great example of the breadth of city involvement.  We’ve invited all sorts of groups to give their own distinctive response to Mayflower 400 and its themes. Many are unexpected and no two are the same.  That’s what makes it such a particularly rich and diverse programme.”

Covid-19 has been challenging for all city centres and Plymouth recognises the need to reinvigorate the high street by reimagining what it could be. Steve Hughes, CEO of the Plymouth City Centre Company, said: “It is fantastic to have such a vibrant, bold piece of art in the heart of the city centre. It celebrates the amazing talent we have in the city and I truly hope it will prove to be a catalyst for street art across the city.”

Plymouth Culture, the sector support agency for culture in the city, has been responsible for bringing the partners together to make the project a reality.

Hannah Harris, CEO for Plymouth Culture, said: “This is a small but significant initiative for the city. It has been a project that brings together partners to support communities in a way that makes their voice visible within the city.

“This is important and will be a key part of how we work moving forward to make sure art and culture is visible and relevant to all.”