After several months hidden behind layers of scaffolding, the new Ark’s striking new frontage and stunning mural by local artist Matt Sewell has been revealed. The bright blue and white frontage adds to the vibrancy to the Castle Street streetscape, and the unique dove on the end gable not only symbolises love and peace, but is also symbolic of the charity’s new beginnings as it enters a new era.
The entire exterior upgrade has been the result of a collaboration of local businesses.
SY Homes voluntarily gave invaluable expertise to coordinate the project. The local developer has completely refurbished the exterior, creating a warm welcome to agencies and visitors using the new space, as well as improving the aesthetics of the street scene along Castle Foregate.
Using a generous donation from Monks Properties, support from local scaffolders Pole Position and new signage donated by Sign and Poster, the SY Homes volunteers have cleaned masonry, repaired and repainted the frontage, installed new windows, replaced guttering and fitted pigeon deterrents.
“At SY Homes we are closely connected to Shrewsbury’s established neighbourhoods where we focus our developments. Albury Place, our newest development in SY1, is rich in local history and has a strong community, which is what home owners look for when buying a home, especially a new build. We were happy to support this local project” said Tom Savage, Director at SY Homes. “By uniting with local businesses for a good cause, SY Homes showcase how a multi-faceted community can work together and develop trust, which is essential for growth in any area.”
The mural paint costs were supported by ShrewburyBID.
Having lived in Castlefields, Matt, who is renowned for his unique bird artwork, was delighted to volunteer his talent for the mural. “I’ve always had my eye on that end gable,” he confesses. Matt says he’d been thinking to do a dove for a while, and in consultation with everyone at the Shrewsbury Ark, it was agreed the symbolic dove in the traditional flood story, would be perfect.
Although this wasn’t the biggest mural Matt has created, he admits this one had some challenges. “Usually, I have an idea when I see the surface I’m working on, and make up the mural as I go along, but in this case the building was far too big. I had to meticulously plan this one and scale up the artwork,” he says. “Also, normally, I can stand back and think ‘the head is too big, or the wing looks a bit weird’, but in this case, I couldn’t!”
Emily Bell, Chair of the Ark says: “We are so, so grateful for the very generous support of these local businesses and talented artist to refresh the frontage of this much-loved building. The end result is incredible.”
“The mural is quite simply amazing; as it is on the side of the building, we think it will be a lovely welcome to the town for those who are travelling to Shrewsbury on trains from the north. We really hope the mural will become an iconic part of the Shrewsbury landscape.”
“Thanks to an amazing group of trades people and volunteers, refurbishment and decorating is on the inside of the building is progressing well, and we hope to relocate to our new home in the next couple of weeks,” she confirms.
You too can support the Ark!
Tea towels with the dove mural can be purchased from the Shrewsbury Museum, with profits going to the Ark.
Shop in person at our charity shop on 14 Castle Street, on or shop online via the Give as you Live shopping platform: More information and sign-up details here.
Whether it’s working in the kitchen, supporting people, helping with the filing or organising a fundraiser, find out how you can volunteer with us here