Mayor of London funding award to East London arts group for first new wave of legal art walls in London.

Wood Street Walls secure funding to create Leytonstone Art Gardens - a new wave of legal street art spaces in Waltham Forest

East London Arts organisation Wood Street Walls have been awarded £5,000 from the Mayor of London's Greener City Fund to create the first of a new wave of free bookable legal street art walls in London.

The Leytonstone Art Gardens project is a collaboration between Wood Street Walls CIC & UAL Central Saint Martins Design Against Crime Unit, that aims to give artists safe places to paint in a new public community garden without fear of recrimination, whilst helping reduce the levels of CO2 within the area from the new planting.

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Artists will be able to book via an online portal, where photos of all the artwork will be held for the public to see.

Permission for the space has been granted by both Waltham Forest Council and Network Rail who own the green space and arches respectively.

The initial layout of how the space will look (above) has been designed by architecture practice Urben, and will be shared with members of the local community who will be able to help co-create the space, with a drop in consultation located at The Heathcote & Star pub opposite. At least 5 new trees will be planted to help support Waltham Forest Council's commitment to plant at least 1,200 trees in the borough.

The new community garden space will have a dedicated website for people to upload, stories, songs, and feedback of the rotating artwork, with custom made benches with hand crank powered speakers designed by architecture practice BAT Studio.

We're delighted to secure The Mayor's Greener City funding for what we believe to be an important part of London's culture. Providing artists safe places to paint & express themselves in addition to affordable artist workspace is key to the captial's cultural infrastructure. We hope this will be one of many new legal walls popping up in Waltham Forest and all over London. 

Mark Clack, co-founder, Wood Street Walls CIC

Communities are crying out for high quality green space in their local areas, and I have listened to their great ideas. Whether it’s designing a new garden, planting trees or greening school playgrounds, these projects will transform local spaces, improve health and wellbeing and help clean up our toxic air – and young Londoners are getting involved too. I want London to become the UK’s first National Park City, with more than half the capital green by 2050 – and we’re already delivering. It’s vital that, as our capital continues to grow, all Londoners have access to open, green areas, and these projects will help make our city a greener, healthier place to live.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

We are thrilled to be part of this project, which acts as a natural progression for us, both from our ongoing work on Social Safer places and our work exploring new ways for visual voices, including street art, to thrive and invite engagement among many voices in urban contexts. For so long, the only way to easily impact our local environments has been to complain. Now, with this project and others that Central Saint Martins and Wood Street Walls are involved in, we are opening up more ways for multiple publics to get involved in pro-active and hands-on ways. This initiative will enable visual works and people-led audio content become a dynamic part of everyday life in the area. If you have ideas or want to change the experience at this site, come, speak with words or pictures and make it happen.

Marcus Willcocks, UAL: Central Saint Martins Design Against Crime Research Unit.

Notes for Editors

Wood Street Walls have received grant funding from the Mayor of London for “Leytonstone Art Gardens” as part of the Mayor’s Community Green Space Grants 2018. The Mayor has awarded £1.1 million in grants to 55 local projects to help create and improve green spaces.

The Community Green Space Grants include projects to improve parks, design new green spaces, green school playgrounds, plant trees, install sustainable drainage and restore waterways. The grants are one element of the Mayor’s £9 million Greener City Fund, which will create and improve green spaces and encourage tree planting and management in London. See www.london.gov.uk/greenercity

About Wood Street Walls

Wood Street Walls has three main goals as an organisation:

1. To bring public art to our area of East London for residents and visitors to enjoy, to encourage greater footfall and custom to local business. We have looked to other successful initiatives over the pond such as Wynwood Walll

2. To provide free periodic workshops for the charities, school children and beyond - to build a connection between the artistic and local community and help develop grow new talent for the next generation of artists.

3. Our final and biggest goal of our project is the establishing of a new creative hub for the area: Wood Street Studios, by repurposing a disused and derelict building in the area. According to a study commissioned by the Mayor of London, in 5 years over 30% of the current 14,000 artists in London will no longer have a place to call their own due to rising rents and land being developed by residential housing.

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