Barrhead church mural sends a vibrant message
Published on 15 August 2022 2 minutes read
A Church of Scotland kirk has enlisted the help of local youngsters to brighten up the local area.
Barrhead St Andrew's Parish Church worked with local youth groups, guided by art professionals Spectrum Arts, to transform a blank wall into a colourful beacon of hope.
Rev Tim Mineard began thinking about putting the wall, which is overlooked by nearby flats, to more colourful use soon after becoming the minister at the church in September 2020.
"I had the idea and then thought about how I could make this a reality," Mr Mineard said.
"That's when I saw a funding opportunity through Barrhead Housing Association, who were making grants of £1,000 available."
To secure the funding, projects had to make an application, then go to a public vote. The church was successful in its application, with the rest of the cost of the project met by general church funds.
Edinburgh-based Spectrum Arts provided some practical advice and support, but it was the local Guides company, one of a number of groups associated with the church, which came up with the suitably Biblical theme of Noah's Ark.
"It's a bright, vibrant, colourful story and something that everyone can relate to," Mr Mineard said.
"I also went into one of the local primary schools and got some ideas from them as well.
"Spectrum Arts are used to working with groups of young people so they sketched out some of the big parts like the Ark itself, but really they just spent a bit of time showing the young people how to use the spray paints. Most of the animals were free drawn by the kids and it was very impressive how they were able to just have the ideas and then go and draw them on the wall. It was very creative and liberating for them.
"They had a great time and I think it helped them with their confidence. I would hope it would also mean that they have some sense of ownership. That was my other big aim for the project. If you can give young people a say in what happens, even in terms of the building, then I think that is a strong message."
A message for the community
Between eight and 10 young people, most of them connected to the church through youth organisations, worked on the mural over the two days, with support from Spectrum Arts and some older congregation members.
The completion of the work was celebrated with a barbecue at the community hall to which the whole community was invited.
"To my mind it's also a symbolic statement," Mr Mineard added.
"We are not just involving young people in creating the mural, it's also a sign that the church brings vibrancy and colour and reaches out to the community."