Swansea High Street’s ‘Tunnel’ to get Jam Hot!
A historic city subway in Swansea is to be the spot for a jam hot, urban art event called the ‘Tunnel Vision Jam’, turning the site into a vibrant tunnel of colour. The multi-partner project aims to address some of the problems associated with the historically significant and architecturally distinctive city centre public space known locally as The Tunnel. The ‘Tunnel Vision Jam’ will bring together graffiti artists on the weekend of 01 – 02 April with an overall aim to make the subway a safer, more welcoming and more enjoyed space.
Most of us have been in a city space that feels dirty, uncared for and unsafe, partly because of neglect or perhaps bad design and partly because it is little used. Such spaces often become ‘last resort’ spaces for people who have become homeless and people who misuse drugs. People often end up using these spaces because they have been pushed away from areas of business or leisure where they are often not welcomed. Sadly, they may then become yet more vulnerable.
You may also have come across similar city spaces miraculously turned around into vibrant living spaces by the use of art, some well thought through design, improved maintenance and even the encouragement of added entertainment such as buskers or performers. Behind the scenes work may also have been done to look at offering help for the more vulnerable users of the space.
Pottery Street subway links The Strand and the High Street and is located in the archways running under the railway near the main railway station. It is much better known to locals as ‘The Tunnel’ and provides a useful cut through. The site has gained notoriety over the years for crime and anti-social behaviour. The subway which originally would have been well used has become perceived as unsafe. This has meant the route, in recent years, has been less well used leaving the two streets poorly connected. Though the number of reported incidents in the subway has been very few the fact that it is dirty, badly lit and often used by vulnerable people including rough sleepers and people who misuse drugs people have become less inclined to use the space to get to their destination.
Mark Stephenson from the HigherStreet International said:
Were it seen to be a safer and more pleasant environment, we believe it would be an invaluable connecting route for residents of the nearby St Davids student accommodation, workers and commuters travelling between the railway station and Strand area, and shoppers at Parc Tawe. And it would also be safer for the vulnerable people who currently use it.
The artist- led project (a collaboration between Swansea based Fresh Murals Co. and the HigherStreet International) is working with local people, businesses and organisations to make the pedestrian underpass a safer and more pleasant environment, connecting the Strand to the High Street with a ‘tunnel of colour’. Following the event the subway will become a ‘legal wall’ for artists from Swansea and further afield, transforming it into a unique, constantly evolving space that it is hoped will not only be safe and enjoyable to use but will likely be sought out as somewhere to enjoy and spend time.
The project will start with a clean up of the subway space followed by graffiti workshops and then the Tunnel Vision Jam event itself. There will also be follow-up development of the space, post-jam.
The graffiti workshops will engage both subway users and would-be users in ‘street writing’ activities, giving them the opportunity to contribute to the design and colouring of the space. Workshops will take place at the St Davids student accommodation on New Cut Road on Saturday 01 April with sessions starting at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm. Sessions last for approximately two hours and are open to all. Booking is advised. Please contact 07760 286272
The jam event involves artists from Swansea working in collaboration with workshop participants and takes place on Saturday 01 April and Sunday 02 April, from 10.00 am each day. Please note there will be no public access to the subway during the event itself. Public viewing of work in progress will be available at dusk on Saturday with a public opening planned for late afternoon on Sunday (time to be confirmed on social media). Please note: all details are subject to change.
Tunnel Vision Jam is part of From the Station to the Sea, a collaboration between Volcano Theatre Company and Coastal Housing Group, funded by the Arts Council of Wales under their Ideas People Places (IPP) initiative.
Station to the Sea: From the Station to the Sea
Tunnel Vision Graffiti Jam event on Facebook
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