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Transforming Spaces with artist Lucy McLauchlan

For years I walked past this isolated old 19th Century canal cottage which is just on the edge of Birmingham city centre wondering about what would become of it? It sits just above the Digbeth Branch Canal in an area which has under gone significant regeneration. Following a compulsory purchase of land that included the cottage it has sat empty boarded up for years.

Eventually the land all around was developed by Birmingham City University with their new sterile buildings changing dramatically the visual landscape. The old cottage looked lost and unconnected with no planned use. Its a unique and strange little cottage that still has something to offer so I decided to help reconnect and thought that given its young contemporary surroundings a discreet splash of street art could help transform the building.

I bid for some funding via Ghost Streets CIC which is a community arts based organisation that I founded. The planned was called Junction and aimed to connect people to this part of the canal network.

I was keen to work with Birmingham based visual artist Lucy McLauchlan who has installed large monochromatic installations in Birmingham and all over the world. Lucy already has work down on the canal so it felt like a natural flow for the street art starting at the cottage and leading down on to the waterways.

The university agreed to let us paint the hoardings in the widows and door which provided a great surface that complimented Lucy's art work. Lucy installed the work over the May bank holiday Monday. I got to spend the day with her and watch her paint which was inspiring - watching her artful brush strokes made to classical music.

Find out more about Lucy's work here and follow on Instagram @lucymclauchlan

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© Tracey Thorne 2022
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