Gloucester BID turns to graffiti artists to attract tourists

Street art in Gloucester

Business leaders in Gloucester have invited urban artists to create a trail of street art in a bid to attract tourists to the city.

In years past, civic leaders would rush to whitewash graffiti, calling it a sign of decay.

But the popularity of the art form, and the success of festivals like Upfest in Bristol and Cheltenham Paint Festival, has encouraged Gloucester’s business leaders to give spray can artists a shot.

They say the #bouncingback project, funded by Gloucester Business Improvement District and the City Council via The Welcome Back post-Covid fund, aims to enhance the street scene by converting often unkempt street furniture into bright points of interest.

City centre visitors can walk around the Gate Streets and immediate adjoining lanes and spot the artwork.

In total 75 boxes, including electric and specified BT / Openreach boxes as agreed with BT, have been decorated with colourful designs by five street artists. The art depicts a variety of Gloucester-based themes as well as a nature trail.

Bristol urban artist Jon D’oh and Gloucester’s own Flava painted the nature trail boxes, which include flowers, plants, insects, fish and other animals. There are over 40 of these themed boxes to find. All are quite small and are positioned alongside buildings.

All five artists painted other boxes with Gloucester based themes and several ‘fun’ images. Look out for: Meteor aircraft made by the Gloster Aircraft Co; Simon Pegg, the actor, brought up in Brockworth; Bell foundary on Bell Walk; Dr Foster; Several of Beatrix Potter’s famous characters; Stained glass window for Ivor Gurney; Dick Whittington; Gloucester Old Spot and Cheese Rolling; Roman soldiers on the site of the Roman wall, the Via Sacra.

Artist John D’oh said it was a pleasure to be involved: “I really enjoyed painting in Gloucester; the people were all really friendly and interested in what I was doing.

“Normally my art can be quite political, but I was given a brief for famous Gloucester people, animals, insects. I was however allowed to put in a couple of my own pieces.

“Gloucester as the city has some amazing stories which can be told with artwork. Street art is a great way of adding a little culture and increasing tourism and it has become increasingly popular over the last decade. I hope people enjoy it.”

A trail can be found at https://www.gloucesterbid.uk/events/urban-art-nature-trail