Cheltenham Paint Festival collaboration achieves the impossible!

19 Jul

Year 12 Fine Art students were thrilled to be working alongside the Cheltenham Paint Festival during Activities Week to design and create 10 bespoke large-scale murals on the school site, in a project spearheaded by Mr Freeman and Mr Taylor.

For the second year, Andy 'Dice' Davis, founder of the Cheltenham Paint Festival, gave his expert advice and experience to help the students create stunning curriculum-themed displays. Two of the students who worked alongside Andy on the pilot Drama studio project in 2022 have been invited to paint at this year's Festival!  

The 10 murals have transformed the former plain brick walls in the M-Quad outside space. Used regularly by students and visible from the music, art and PE departments, the brightly-coloured designs created by Freya Bayes in Year 13 (Frank), depict the surrounding curriculum areas. 

Freya said, "Mr Taylor asked me to modify some designs I had created in Photoshop promoting Art options at Bournside and it has worked really well. I hope to study a Graphic Design degree in September and studying Art at Bournside has hugely influenced that decision. I've always loved History and Graphics, but the support and encouragement of the department and my enjoyment of the course have confirmed that Graphics is the route I'd like to take. It has been a pleasure to work on this project and I can't thank everyone enough for their support."

In a fantastic summary of the week, Andy said: 

"After working on three big portraits with students last year on nice flat walls in the drama studio, my heart sank a little when I saw this year's project was for 10 brick walls! Not only were the walls unpainted but the bricks themselves were very rough sided making them difficult to paint. With only two days for me onsite and another to be out in the field working with the students painting walls ready for the Cheltenham Paint Festival, I was nervous we may be biting off more than we could chew... 

With the help of my trusty paint sprayer, we managed to get a good base coat down to work on all the walls by the first afternoon and the students set to sketching out the designs in a mix of spray paint and masonry. By the end of the first day, the colourful designs brilliantly designed by Freya, had already started to appear despite the weather conspiring against us. The next day, with the weather again not playing ball, the students worked their socks off and by the end of play we had most of the designs up and the base colours filled in. 

We decided at this point that it was better to ensure the work was finished and cancelled the day's painting for the festival so I could come and help on Thursday. The teachers and students did their best to do as much as they could without me on Wednesday with the weather again being a factor and on Thursday I brought some spray paints in to help neaten up some of the linework and speed up the process. Janis did an excellent job sketching out the remaining designs and filling in the block colours with spray paint and all the other students, including some who weren't even scheduled to be helping, worked so hard to get the murals they were each working on finished. A badly timed shower near the close of day prevented us from finishing the last square metre of the last mural, but besides that all the other murals were completed! 

[The students] were diligent, hard-working, polite and a wonderful example of the school's own motto of 'Usque ad finem'. They literally worked their socks off til the end to get the works completed and should be incredibly proud of their efforts. I would like to once again thank them all for their hard work and for making what I thought would be a near-impossible task fun and, almost, seem easy.

To have finished 10 murals in four short days without any prior experience of working at this scale on rough walls in bad weather was an incredible feat and testament to the incredible effort put in by all the students (and teachers!) I know many street artists that would have complained about the walls and the difficulty of painting on them but not once did they complain. They were diligent, hard-working, polite and a wonderful example of the school's own motto of 'usque ad finem' (Until the end). They literally worked their socks off til the end to get the works completed and should be incredibly proud of their efforts. I would like to once again thank them all for their hard work and for making what I thought would be a near-impossible task fun and, almost, seem easy."

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