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Mural brightens up empty store

STREET art has come to Bognor Regis town centre.


The shopping area’s only sizeable hoarding has been turned into an eye-catching festive attraction.


Spray can expert Sarah Gillings was joined by six young people to transform the white emulsioned surface in front of the former Store Twenty One.


The larger than life Aztec-style Christmas trees in brown, blue and purple were joined by an outsized pair of angel wings complete with a halo for people to take selfies with.


One of those who put the spray cans to good use was Angel Bull, 17. She said: “Everything has been good about this. It’s been a good experience. I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s good to hang around with my friends.


“I like art and this is something different for Bognor Regis. It’s going to brighten up the town centre.


“There is nothing else interesting like this and people will see this when they walk through the town.”


The young people are students at the Asphaleia Training Centre, which is newly opened at the Phoenix Centre in Westloats Lane. They are studying for their English and maths foundation exams.


The 33ft by 9ft plyboard hoardings have been in place for several months. Bognor Regis Town Council joined with Sarah for her fourth project around the town to bring some public art to the premises.


Managing agents Stiles Harold Williams agreed to the project, having worked with Sarah in her home town of Brighton last year.


She said: “The town council asked me to create a Christmas theme for this site and I’ve used my artistic interpretation to come up with something different.


“I’ve done the basic work and I have worked hard with this group of young people to make this design. They have added their own touches to it, such as painting the decorations on the trees.


“They have taken the ball and run with it and have gained so much confidence just from these two days.


“It is showing them some new skills and street art is a big thing today. Banksy is even on the school curriculum.”


The mural will be removed next month when the hoardings are taken down.


Sarah’s previous murals created in the past 18 months are the two on adjoining sides of the corner of Waterloo Square and The Esplanade and in the Hotham Way underpass.


Her pioneering painting work inspiring young people saw her given A Points Of Light award by Theresa May last September.


The prime minister told her: “Your engaging workshops are helping young people from diverse backgrounds to express themselves through spray painted murals and community art projects.”

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