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Newport students’ murals take pride of place at city housing development

Stunning murals designed by art and design students in Newport, South Wales, have been given pride of place at the entrance to an award-winning housing development in the city.

The vibrant and colourful designs, produced by students at Coleg Gwent’s City of Newport Campus, have just been unveiled at Loftus Garden Village, a development of 250 homes close to the city centre. The scheme was recently named Best Residential Development at the Insider Wales Property Awards.

Lovell, which is building the new homes for affordable housing provider Pobl Group, invited students from the further education college to produce artwork for display on the construction hoardings.

Students took up the challenge as part of their BTEC Level 3 diploma course and Welsh Baccalaureate, taking creative inspiration from a range of sources including the story of local woman Ruby Loftus – who was famously painted by war artist Dame Laura Knight in the 1940s, carrying out her job at the Royal Ordnance factory which previously stood on the housing site. The development has been named in her honour.  The young artists also drew on the ideas of the Arts and Craft design movement – which have also shaped the the style of the new housing – and embraced the garden village theme producing designs alive with flowers and wildlife.

Sian Dinham, course leader of the students’ BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design, says: “It has been an absolute pleasure overseeing and supporting the students working on this live brief in partnership with Lovell community liaison officer Bernadette Vickery and Pobl. As a group we are thrilled with the final results and it is great to see the boards on display within the community. The artwork creates a place of interest and hopefully will allow different generations and community members to share in the poignant history of the site.”

As part of the project, Lovell and Pobl hosted a visit by students to the development to talk to them about its aims and show them the new homes under construction.

Lovell community liaison officer Bernadette Vickery says: “We absolutely love the creative results of this community collaboration between ourselves, the Coleg Gwent students and Pobl. The finished artworks show huge flair and imagination with the students responding sensitively to the brief we gave them. Their designs reference the importance of Ruby Loftus to the project and the role of the new development as a flourishing 21st century garden village, bringing the natural world to the heart of the city.”

Lovell is currently building the third phase of the development which has been designed to encourage healthy, sustainable living with tree-lined streets, parks, kitchen gardens and a community orchard.

Neil Barber, Pobl director of development, comments: “Showcasing the abundant talent evident at Coleg Gwent, the thirteen vibrant murals provide a wonderful focal point at the entrance to the busy site access area.  It is particularly interesting to see the students have taken both inspiration from the rich history of the site as well as demonstrating their clear understanding of Pobl’s vision for Loftus Garden Village. We would like to wish all the students every success in their future careers.”

The students’ murals were put into place by apprentices working on the Loftus Garden Village scheme. A key part of the development has involved the creation of a significant number of construction training and job opportunities for local people.