Stunning street art creates new Instagram hotspot for York

A little-used alleyway between Boots and WHSmith on York’s Coney Street might seem like an unlikely spot for Instagram selfies, but that’s the aim of a new collaboration between York Business Improvement District and local gallery The Art of Protest, which will see top international artists create stunning street art.

The idea follows the success of displays around Little Stonegate, which have become hotspots for photographs of two major pieces of street art on the rear of the Browns building.  The length of both sides of the passageway will be covered with a vibrant and bright artwork by internationally renowned artist, STATIC, with lighting installed to transform the ‘forgotten’ space into an attractive addition to the street.

“Part of York BID’s purpose is to revitalise the kinds of spaces you find in the city centre that need a little TLC.  Street art is a superb way of achieving that goal and will also help bring more people – especially younger audiences – down onto Coney Street,” comments executive director of York BID, Andrew Lowson. 

“We have worked with businesses and property owners to ensure that the aesthetic is culturally appropriate and tasteful for the location, and we’re confident that this will revitalise the area is a different, engaging way.  There is also Police evidence to demonstrate how the right mix of vibrant artwork and lighting can deter anti-social behaviour.”

Brighten the space


The alleyway is currently used for deliveries in the early morning, but otherwise largely unused and often targeted with antisocial behaviour at the weekends.  The artwork will brighten the space, using a mix of specially coloured emulsion and spray paint with a maritime theme, featuring the sea and waves, with an ecological message to encourage mindfulness about single use plastics and over-fishing of our natural resources.

The artwork will take three days to complete, with artists Craig Evans and Tom Jackson starting work this Friday (28 June) and working over the weekend.  The project has been co-ordinated by The Art of Protest Project York, and sees the Scarborough-based artists back working in their home county, following exhibitions in Asia, the USA and London.

Breaking down barriers


Jeff Clark, owner of Art of Protest Gallery said, “I have always enjoyed working with Craig and Tom, and when the chance to paint a major piece came up in York, I thought they would be the perfect fit. Urban art is helping break down barriers all over the world, and having worked on them in so many cities, I am really excited and proud to bring it to York.”

The initiative forms part of a wider plan from Jeff Clark under the Art of Protest Projects scheme, which puts up pieces of public art.  Having worked for over a decade curating and delivering public art in places like New York’s High Line public park, Bali and all over the UK, the Coney Street piece is part of a series of large scale artworks that Jeff wants to deliver across the city. 

The ultimate ambition is for a biannual urban arts festival along the Foss and in other underdeveloped parts of the city.