Wembley Park launches free art trail including installation for first London Mural Festival

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Wembley Park launches free art trail including installation for first London Mural Festival
Miriamandtom, Crossover 2 © Chris Winter.

LONDON.- North West London’s cultural neighbourhood, Wembley Park, is expanding its free art programme for visitors and residents. From 1 September 2020, three new installations will join 11 existing pieces of art to complete its first public art trail.

As an opening highlight of the first London Mural Festival, which runs throughout September, Brent-born graffiti artist and designer Pref is creating Better Together, a large-scale street art intervention. Commissioned by Wembley Park’s cultural director Josh McNorton and Global Street Art − the company behind the London Mural Festival − for its newest office building, The Hive, it will be situated next to Wembley’s world-famous national stadium and the popular London Designer Outlet.

Pref, whose studio is in Brent Cross, is known for his multi-layered, three dimensional lettering, often with one word laying on top of or inside the other words. Better Together showcases his signature style by interweaving the word “together” through the word “better.” Inspired by recent social and political events, the sewn thread design highlights the importance of community, unity and ‘pulling together’. In keeping with the message, Pref doesn't mind if someone else helps you to read the words!

Meanwhile, in Arena Square, Brent icons George Michael, Twiggy, Arthur Wint, Amy Johnson and Jayaben Desai will be commemorated in a new phone box art installation, Legends Calling. The piece, created by renowned artist and lighting designer Louisa Smurthwaite, will see figures of these five local heroes float as blue lights within three iconic British (K6) red telephone boxes, representing the continuing reverberations of their outputs, achievements and deeds. Smurthwaite, who works out of Second Floor Studios & Arts in Wembley Park, has previously collaborated with the likes of Sam Smith, Grace Jones, Kylie, Florence & the Machine, Glass Animals, Rag n Bone Man, Birdy, and Pulp.

A new dynamic mural will also be unveiled on the side of Wembley Park’s residential Beton building. Conceived by the team of artists at French creative agency Muzéo, it is inspired by the insightful and witty approach of conceptual art. In exposing the concrete which gives the building its name — Beton, in French — and including the name itself within the composition, the mural plays with both representation and what’s real. This is a key area of discussion in art history and is similarly interesting in the context of social media. The anamorphic effect used on ‘Beton’ enables visitors to interact with the art; as they walk down the passage next to the building, the word changes from being distorted to a clear, straight name.

The three new installations join 11 existing pieces of art to create Wembley Park’s first art trail, which are:

• Crossover by Miriamandtom, Bobby Moore Bridge
• Bobby Moore Bridge Tile Mural, Bobby Moore Bridge
• Works by Mr Doodle, various locations around Wembley Park
• Fire & Water by Suiko, Elvin Gardens
• The Totems, created by the public working with Stephen Stockbridge and the Emergency Exit Arts team, Elvin Gardens
• Bobby Moore Statue, Wembley Stadium
• Square of Fame, Arena Square outside The SSE Arena, Wembley
• One in Four by Frank Styles, Spanish Steps
• Royal Wave by Jason Bruges, Royal Route
• Shadow Wall by Jason Bruges, Royal Route Underpass
• Cartographer’s Fugue by Vivien Zhang, foyer of The Hive building (9am–5pm, Monday–Friday only)

A new downloadable digital map available at www.wembleypark.com/art, along with QR codes on each piece, will allow visitors to discover the art ― including about their background, significance and creator ― as they explore the neighbourhood.

The art trail forms part of Wembley Park Arts, an extensive cultural programme of live music, sports, entertainment and theatre designed for its community and visitors to enjoy alongside shopping or eating out. It is also informed by the Public Art Strategy for Wembley Park, which is led by a Commissioning Group and implemented by Cultural Director, Josh McNorton. This summer’s post-lockdown programme makes full use of the neighbourhood’s design features, including wide tree-lined boulevards, public squares and green spaces. It also provides vital support to local artists and creatives whose livelihoods may have been impacted.

Josh McNorton, Wembley Park’s Cultural Director, says: “We’re excited to unveil three striking new commissions in Wembley Park this September, as part of our first free art trail and the inaugural London Mural Festival. Wembley Park’s growing collection of public art has been developed with local, national and international artists, and transforms bridges, steps, office buildings, public squares and everything in-between into unique canvasses. We’re delighted to be able to support artists in this challenging time and look forward to welcoming visitors as they explore the trail around Wembley Park’s acres of open space.”

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