Get ready to discover the York Mural Trail! These striking murals are here to help animate York’s shopping streets, adding a pop of colour and breathing new life into city centre spaces.
York BID is committed to delivering more public art projects in the city centre, to tell stories that reflect York's unique history and identity through art. Through its art commissions, York BID celebrates 'The York Narrative', a collection of values that resonate with residents, workers, students, and visitors, shaping the city's unique identity.
By highlighting York’s lesser-known achievements and showcasing inspirational art, this project aims to affirm the value of creative thinking in everyday life, broaden people’s perceptions of York, and build on York’s reputation as a place where people and businesses want to be.
The murals will encourage narrative journeys by creating destination points in the city, offering new ways to interpret and navigate York. By injecting colour and life into York’s shopping streets, we hope that everyday trips to the city centre, commutes to work or weekend strolls will be enhanced.
A bespoke mural map will be launched in the summer, which will seamlessly combine York BID commissions and existing pieces across the city.
The phrase ‘Make History Every Day’ is taken from the York Narrative; the characters dotted around the mural highlight the importance of individual action, while the artefacts represent the deposits unearthed during the 1970s excavation.
This mural has been created by York-born artist Leah Pendleton, who creates bold designs featuring typography and playful illustrations.
Leah was inspired by the Coppergate dig that took place in the 1970s, which unearthed 9m of archaeological layers. Her design shows how each small story contributes to a layer of history, which in turn provides solid foundations for the future.
'Beneath Usa' - Foss Walk
This 23m long mural brightens up the wall running alongside Foss Walk. The area was previously a target for graffiti but now the high footfall area celebrates York’s rivers and wetlands.
This project was delivered as part of York Cares Big Community Challenge 2023. In partnership with St Nicks and the City of York Council’s Environment and Communities Team, the challenge focused on the maintenance and restoration of river and wetland habitats in York, supporting multiple different sites and culminating in improving this section of the Foss Walk.
The 'Beneath Usa' mural ('usa' meaning 'water' in Celtic) was created by Yorkshire-based artist Emily Starling, known as Selkie Ray. Emily specialises in large-scale installations and has a particular interest in nature. Emily wanted to represent the peaceful feeling of being beside the riverbank, as well as celebrating the diversity of York’s waterways nature.
'Urban Rhythm' - York Barbican
This mural, celebrating culture and music, runs along the cycle path on the Fishergate side of York Barbican; one of the largest performance venues in York.
The mural represents the many influences and voices that have made York what it is today and are shaping its future. The mural features large flowers; metaphorical with York’s blossoming creative and music scene. What’s more, the mural was painted using environmentally friendly paint that is proven to absorb CO2 from the environment, creating a ‘living’ mural that acts in a similar manner to an adult tree.
This bright and abstract mural was designed by Yorkshire artist Emmeline North. Emmeline is a firm believer in the concept of turning art galleries inside out, having work for all people to see and enjoy as they go about their day.
This vibrant mural spruced up the little-used alleyway between Boots and WHSmith on Coney Street that needed some TLC. York BID also provided street lighting as part of this project, which has been successful in reducing anti-social behaviour in this area.
This project was in collaboration with local urban arts organisation, Art of Protest Projects. It took Yorkshire-born, internationally renowned artist duo STATIC three days to complete the mural; their first solo piece created within their home county.
The Tansy Beetle
This mural can be found on Queen Street; a short walk from the train station and city walls. This piece was commissioned by environmental charity New Networks for Nature and supported by York BID to raise awareness of the decline of the insect.
Known as ‘the Jewel of York,’ the Tansy Beetle is an iridescent, endangered species which, for a long time, was only found on a short stretch of the River Ouse. These beetles take their name from the bright yellow tansy plant; their main food source.
The Tansy Beetle mural was created by street artist ATM, who specialises in painting endangered species on urban walls to draw attention to the environmental crisis. There are purposefully no name tags on ATM’s murals, as he wants people to appreciate wildlife for what it is.