Arts & Culture Featured Article

Why bridges in Penarth and Barry have been painted with bright murals

Gladstone Road Bridge in Barry and the Penarth Marina Bridge has been painted with a colourful abstract mural.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has commissioned an artist to design two pieces of artwork for local infrastructure in Barry and Penarth, and the Gladstone Bridge mural at Barry’s Waterfront is the first to be unveiled.

This is part of a large-scale public art project in which two bridges in Barry and Penarth are to be transformed into vibrant and colourful spectacles. The project, titled ‘Crossing Bridges’ has been funded by the Welsh Government Active Travel Fund in a bid to encourage walking and cycling as an alternative method for long-term commuting.

Speaking in 2021, Peter King, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services and Transport said: “The scheme will transform the bridges into vibrant, inviting landmarks, hopefully encouraging residents to make use of the walkways and access active travel routes.”

 

Gladstone bridge Barry

 

In making the bridges visually appealing, it is hoped that more people will opt to travel by bike or on foot, which the council believe is crucial in achieving their Project Zero goals to tackle climate change.

Gladstone Bridge – and Cogan Bridge at Penarth Marina – were identified as needing improvement due to graffiti and therefore, the decision was made to transform them into defining landmarks with hand-painted murals.

UK-based artist, Katrina Adams is responsible for the exciting new-look bridges, designing the artwork in line with local history and landmarks. Katrina ran a workshop back in December and through a collaborative process with local residents, designed a mural that both represented the area and resonated with the community.

Katrina is self-taught and passionate about abstract art; her work prominently features geometric shapes and bright colours like those seen on the bridge. She says: “The way I do abstract art is to get people to look at things in a different way. Every one of my shapes has a narrative; every shape has a history – a story behind it, an inspiration.”

Cogan and Gladstone Bridges are no exception. The shapes were taken from local landmarks, heritage, architecture or maps to tell a story of the areas they are representing. For example, the Gladstone Bridge design features the blue of The Knap Lake and Porthkerry Viaduct’s railway arches.

Whilst the painting was carried out by a contractor, Swansea Painters due to its proximity to railway lines, Katrina was heavily involved in the process. She produced an accurate scale screen print for the whopping 120 meters of bridge walls, as well as marking the whole of the bridge design out in different colour Sharpie pens as a guide for the painters.

After an eight-month period from initial research to completion of the first bridge, and a detailed design fee of £2,250, Katrina took to her Instagram on 1st June 2022 to express how glad she was to finally see the finished work in person.

According to the council, work on Cogan Bridge is also underway but as of yet, there is no estimated completion date. Eager eyes will have to wait and see what Katrina’s second instalment looks like but regardless, bright and exuberant Welsh street art that aids climate change goals is a great development for the Vale of Glamorgan.

To see the Gladstone Bridge mural, check out Katrina’s Instagram:
Katrina Adams Art (@katrinaadamsart) • Instagram photos and videos

 

You may also like