Community-led art mural unveiled in Jewellery Quarter station

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A brand new community-led art mural has been unveiled in the Jewellery Quarter train station as part of the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District’s (JQBID) Adopt a Station project with West Midlands Railway.

Jewellery Quarter station art mural
Art mural designed by artists Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek with contributions from BCU School of Jewellery students

A 6m wide art mural depicting the history and heritage of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter has been installed on one of the platforms inside the Jewellery Quarter station. Commissioned by the Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage project (JQTH), local artists Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek designed the artwork with contributions from eight local students from the world renowned School of Jewellery.

The artwork shines a spotlight on the Jewellery Quarter’s industrial middle, highlighting a number of important buildings, including the Argent Centre and Chamberlain Clock, both of which were recently restored. The artwork is interwoven with jewellery designs by students from BCU School of Jewellery, showcasing contemporary skills as well as the historical importance of the jewellery trade in this part of Birmingham.

Kate O’Connor, from the JQDT’s Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage Project commented:

It is great to see some of the fantastic buildings in the JQ Townscape Heritage area represented alongside contemporary work from the talented students at the School of Jewellery, greeting people as they arrive at the Jewellery Quarter Station. The overall design by local artists, Barbara and Marta is so unique and we hope that it inspires people to go and explore the local area and to appreciate the unique and historic architecture.

Birmingham based artists, Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek, both have a passion for the Jewellery Quarter having previously worked in the area. Joining the JQTH and JQBID on this community-led project, the art mural is the station’s first permanent art feature. They comment on their inspiration for the piece:

Our passion for history, heritage and art has developed over the last few years through research and creative visions explored in both collage making and photography. We aimed for a joyful and colourful piece to allow the people of today to engage with the past. The opportunity to work on that piece allowed us to collaborate with students from the School of Jewellery, whose designs have been incorporated into our artwork.

Marta Kochanek and Barbara Gibson with the BCU School of Jewellery students

One of the students that contributed to the collage is Paul Bailey-Green, who recently graduated from the School of Jewellery with a HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Paul comments:

The final piece accurately reflects the Jewellery Quarter’s community and business heritage with its iconic 19th Century buildings interwoven with inspiring examples of jewellery from BCU School of Jewellery students. I feel proud and privileged that my work has been chosen for inclusion.

Since adopting the Jewellery Quarter train station in 2019, the JQBID has delivered temporary art installations and community panels – including a map for the area designed by local artist Made on the Canal. The JQBID is also working with local community groups and organisations to deliver an ambitious greening project as part of West Midlands Railway CCIF grant award which will see the installation of 12 large planters across both platforms inside the station.

The art mural becomes the first permanent art feature in the train station and will soon be followed by further projects that celebrate the area’s unique heritage and community.

Steve Lovell, Marketing and Communications Manager and Project Lead, commented:

We’re so thrilled to see the mural inside the station. Since we adopted the station back in 2019, Covid sadly brought to a halt many of the plans we had during 2020, so we are extremely excited to finally install our first permanent fitting.

Having the mural installed at platform level will only increase the intrigue from passengers and will hopefully persuade more people to come and visit and explore the area.

Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek added:

We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen to work on the collage and are incredibly excited to now share it with the Jewellery Quarter residents as well as all its visitors. We believe that the eye-catching piece will welcome all those curious viewers and help disclose the known and hidden gems of the area, helping to spread a positive impression of the natural beauty of the Jewellery Quarter.

The artwork can be seen on platform 2 inside the Jewellery Quarter station.

Jewellery Quarter station - art mural project by JQBID
The artwork was commissioned by the JQTH as part of the JQBID’s Adopt a Station project

Credits

Collage Design and Concept:

  • Barbara Gibson / @barbaragibson_creative
  • Marta Kochanek / @marta_kochanek

Photography:

  • Marta Kochanek, assisted by Nishatara Begum (@_nish.x_)

Jewellery Designs by School of Jewellery’s students / Birmingham City University:

  • Alison Fowler / @alisonfolwerdesigns
  • Catarina Rodrigues Caeiro / @cat_jewelleryc
  • Conor Maher / @cpemaher
  • Dairu Han / @dairu_hannah
  • Emma Joensen / @emmajo_jewellery
  • Linlin Xiong / @linlinxiong_jewellery
  • Paul Bailey – Green / @audacious.jewellery
  • Yiro Vecchi / @yiro_jewellery

Funding:

The Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage project is a four-year programme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The programme is supported by the JQBID, with additional funding from Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP and Historic England. It aims to regenerate an area within the Jewellery Quarter through the repair and restoration of the historic environment and to deliver a programme of engaging events and activities for all.

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