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Medway artist champions key workers with street designs in Rochester, Gillingham, Twydall and Chatham


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An artist has taken to the streets to share a thank you message for Medway's key workers.

Julia Scanlon, who exhibits at Nucleus Arts in Rochester High Street, was commissioned by Medway Council to spray paint stencils dedicated to the Towns' local heroes.

A stencil creation at The Bike Warehouse in Gillingham. Picture: Julia Scanlon
A stencil creation at The Bike Warehouse in Gillingham. Picture: Julia Scanlon

The 36-year-old has so far completed four pieces and hopes to finish all 15 planned instalments by the end of next week, weather permitting.

Murals are currently on display at the Twydall Community Centre, The Bike Warehouse in Gillingham, Bowen Moto in Chatham and The Space in the Old Rochester High Street.

Two more designs are due to appear in Rochester at the Nucleus Halpern Conservancy in Corporation Street and Home and Gardens Builders Merchants in Delce Road.

Sprays will also be added to Strood Library, Gillingham Library and Iceland in the Strood High Street.

Julia said: "Back in November, the council awarded me and 10 other artists public art commissions, for when things start to open up again to remind everyone to stay safe.

Julia hopes to display her work at these 15 locations
Julia hopes to display her work at these 15 locations

"In the meantime, Covid left its mark with personal family members, friends and schools affected, anyone living in Medway has likely lost or felt the virus in some severe way.

"Now three months on there is some hope, and about time to say thank you to all key workers in Medway for risking their and their families' lives to keep us all going."

Julia plans to also display her work at the Kent Smile Studio in Walderslade, Lordswood Library and Twydall Library, Nucleus Cafe and Chocafellas in Chatham, Vanity Tattoo Studio in Rainham and Billy's Bakehouse in Hoo.

"From me personally, it's a heartfelt thank you for the tireless work by all key workers throughout the pandemic," she added.

Julia's nod to the NHS nurses at Bowen Moto in Chatham. Picture: Julia Scanlon
Julia's nod to the NHS nurses at Bowen Moto in Chatham. Picture: Julia Scanlon
Julia Scanlon, 36, is the artist behind the street art. Picture: Julia Scanlon
Julia Scanlon, 36, is the artist behind the street art. Picture: Julia Scanlon

"Not just doctors and nurses who have had to show incredible resilience and strength but also all the unsung heroes such as public workers, volunteers, police officers and many more.

"I hope people enjoy discovering all the different stencils.

"A special personal thank you goes to all the council staff, businesses, charities and community centres who kindly and generously volunteered their time and especially walls for the artwork.

"Without you this wouldn't have happened – and to Rachel Moore from iPrintedThat.com who has helped me clean up graffiti, freshen up some walls and put up the artwork."

Julia has encouraged people to snap a photo of themselves with her artwork and share the pictures with the hashtag #medwayheroes.

Street artist Sam Collins with his artwork
Street artist Sam Collins with his artwork

And she isn't the only artist out there who's taken to the streets to share a message.

Sam Collins, who is also commissioned by the council, stamped his personal message on Covid safety guidelines with a giant mural of a woman wearing a mask in Rochester High Street.

The 36-year-old said: "I felt uncomfortable telling people what to do. I didn't want to come across to preachy. So hopefully this is a balance by saying if you love other people, wear a mask."

For more photos and behind the scenes visit @yemohdesign on Instagram.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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