The OT (Old Trafford) Art Trail is a community art project organised by OT Creative Space.
Artists have been working with the local community to create six individual large scale murals. The designs are soon to be painted onto walls and buildings around the area, including in Seymour Park and Ayres Road. The street art sites will be linked together via a downloadable audio tour, suitable for people of all ages.
Five artists with very different styles have been commissioned to paint the murals. They are Old Trafford artist and designer Robert Lomas, aerosol and graffiti art specialist Jamie Rennie, fine artist Sam Owen Hull, Russ Meehan, who is also known as Mural Life and graffiti artist and photographer Martene Rouke.
Old Trafford-born spoken word artist and writer Isaiah Hull will create a piece of spoken word to connect the murals.
Driving forward a community art trail during successive lockdowns was not easy, according to Lynda Sterling from OT Creative Space, who masterminded the venture.
Instead of holding the planned workshops in schools, residential homes and other community settings, the art trail team instead sent out 300 creative packs and held a number of activity sessions over Zoom and through social media as well as interactive displays in the window of OT Creative Space on Ayres Road.
Participants were directed towards the project by organisations including Trafford Housing Trust, the NHS social prescribing team, St John’s Centre and Manchester South food bank and creative packs were handed out to families in local parks, including Seymour Park.
In February, the trail team ran a prize draw with local shops, to encourage people to submit their ideas. And pupils from two local schools – St Alphonsus RC Primary and Old Trafford Community Academy – were also asked to share their thoughts on what Old Trafford means to them.
Lynda Sterling, trail coordinator, said: “We had to be very creative in order to maximise community participation at a time when we are being encouraged to stay apart rather than come together.
“Technology has played a part, but also good old fashioned paper and colouring pencils.”
The locations chosen for the larger than life murals include a takeaway pizza shop and three Old Trafford residents’ homes.
Lynda said: “To find the locations, we walked around the local area and picked out key places. It was then a case of knocking on doors and putting notes through people’s doors if they were out.
“It’s generated a lot of excitement in the area and we found people extremely keen to have original artworks painted on their houses.
“We estimate the murals will last between five and 10 years before they start to fade, so it’s quite a commitment.”
Michelle Griffith is one of the Old Trafford residents who volunteered their home on Ayres Road as a blank canvas.
She said: “This is just what Old Trafford needs. It will bring some colour to an otherwise muted part of Old Trafford.
“I’m really excited by the community engagement and getting to work with and alongside the artists. It’s bringing together factions of the community that are normally dormant.”
The OT Art Trail is due to launch in early May and you can find out more information by clicking here: https://otcreativespace.co.uk/