A diverse range of art is being installed in the newly improved Surrey Street as Croydon looks to further cement its reputation as the home of street art in the capital.
Boy Soldier by the artist Schoony is the second in a series of varied art pieces to be installed as part of the upgrade. The thought provoking, anti-war piece is about the horror of children being forced into conflict around the world. The urban art sculpture which is located at the entrance to Exchange Square, first shot to fame after it was unveiled outside the Houses of Parliament as an anti-war protest in 2008.
A mural celebrating relationships on the exterior wall of Don’s café by Rich Simmons is among other pieces commissioned, along with the decoration of disused air con units in Middle Street and the painting of the stairs up to the Arcade – which will also be fitted with interactive lighting – by Rise Gallery’s Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison and Charlie Henson.
Decorative netting filled with colourful shapes will be erected to a secure a void between two buildings and make the street’s appearance more pleasing. Wayfinding signs, which will light up will also be installed. A further mural is planned for Middle Street and programmable, strobe lighting will also be fitted in shop fronts next to Crisis.
The installations, which are part of the council’s £1.1 million renovation of the 700-year-old market, come after a Saatchi gallery artist’s neon flourish became the first piece of public art installed in Surrey Street in February. Lauren Baker’s quotation design which reads ‘A simple hello could lead to a million things’, was installed on the footbridge to bring a positive message to the area and to provide a fun, alternative way to light the area under the bridge. The artwork, which is being installed to attract a greater footfall to Surrey Street, boosting business for market traders and shops, has been financed by section 106 funding which is specifically ring-fenced for public art in this area.
Councillor Mark Watson, Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs, said, “I am delighted such a variety of art is being installed in Surrey Street. Croydon’s burgeoning reputation for its fantastic street art will be further enhanced by these new pieces, which will help make Surrey Street a new destination for art lovers.”