1998 – The beginning

The Strand city map mural in Southsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire was originally painted back in 1998 and was unveiled by the local mayor which subsequently won the best landscape award from the Portsmouth society and raised local trade by 30%, employed local artists, trained others, offered free workshops on lower the level creating an amazing pride and community spirit that has lasted over 20 years.

At a cost of only £8,000 total including £5,000 from the arts council and £2,500 from Portsmouth City Council, this has become one of the best value for tax payer’s money the city has ever seen. This has also grown to become one of the most well-known public art murals on the south coast of England.

2008 – Render problems

After 5 years the render at the lower level of the mural started to come down in patches, as the first 7ft of the wall was not rendered in 1997 as it was in sound condition there became problems when the overflow pipe from the middle flat was leaking for over one year and subsidence in the area. In 2008 we had an on-site meeting with Portsmouth Housing Association/ First Wessex and now Vivid the owners of the building and we all concluded the render needed to come down due to subsidence.

We secured some money from the neighbourhood funds in 2003  to fix the problem after the housing Association re-rendered the patch. We also run free art workshops for the local community and tourists walking past and reached over 100 people all painting flowers, butterflies and insects on the ground level.

One of the most unique parts of the strand mural is that it can be added to year after year, we are still getting requests to add people, business premises, company vans, people riding bikes or on the beach. In theory, we could be painting more and more detail on there every year for 3-4 months throughout the summer for the next 20-30 years. Creating the most detailed public art mural in the UK.

This was the only time we have ever received a grant from the Arts Council which was £5,000 for the first Strand mural in 1997. Surprisingly we were denied a grant for the new mural even though the mural was a great success and created great publicity for the arts council.

Go to History of The Strand Mural Part 2: The 2010 Restoration

Strand Gallery – 1998