Students studying GCSE Art at Turves Green Girls School have been going batty in Longbridge with a unique art project, providing a home for bats and a public reminder of the historical importance of Longbridge’s car industry.
The girls, working under the guidance of Kidderminster artist Mark Renn of Mark Renn Associates, designed a mural in the shape of a bat which tells the Longbridge story in words and drawings by the students. The mural has been applied to metal sheets and mounted on a bat wall adjacent to the Park and Ride car park next to Longbridge Station.
At the rear of the mural are secure recesses where bats can roost. A colony of bats had been living in derelict houses which previously occupied the site and, when the houses were demolished by Centro last year, the regional transport coordinator decided to erect the bat wall.
Mark said: “It was a challenging project but the girls’ enthusiasm and hard work meant it turned out very well. It wasn’t just about bats, it was about capturing the heritage of the whole area and the way the girls rose to the challenge was fantastic.”
Sarah Barton, head of art at Turves Green, said the project had been a hit at the school. She said: “The project was a great opportunity for those girls who had opted for GCSE Art to work on a live public art brief alongside professional artists.”
And the project was a huge hit with students. Ms Barton said: “It was very popular even amongst students who had not opted for GCSE Art and so we invited them to apply to take part as well.”
The mural was formally unveiled in a ceremony on 25th September, and the girls signed their names on their work.
Cllr Roger Horton, Centro lead member for rail and Metro, said: “This is a superb piece of work and I congratulate the girls and the artist on their imagination and hard work.
“Longbridge was world famous for more than a century for its the cars. Sadly Rover is no longer with us but the mural provides a reminder to everyone using the car park about what was once here.” said Cllr Horton.