Art project has super impact on community spirit

Members of the Avengers and Justice League have taken up residence on the Springfield Road in Belfast as part of an exciting reimaging project in the Sliabh Dubh area.

Art project has super impact on community spirit

Facilitated by the EU PEACE III funded Building Relationships in Communities (bric) Programme, the visual arts project has seen a once graffiti covered wall transformed into a bespoke artwork featuring a host of well-known superheroes from Marvel and DC comics.

Created by renowned mural artist Danny Devanney, the extensive piece was designed by young people from the area and made possible through the bric Programme in conjunction with the Housing Executive Sliabh Dubh Residents Association, Fold Housing Association, Black Mountain Shared Spaces Project and Upper Springfield Development Forum.

The one of a kind piece was commissioned by the bric Programme as part of its overall goal of cultivating good relations in communities across Northern Ireland and is just one of a series of bric initiatives aimed at building understanding and relationships in areas where it is needed most.

Speaking at the launch, Carol McCourt, Chairperson of Sliabh Dubh Residents Association, said:

“The Superheroes project has been a major talking point in the area and has attracted a lot of attention from residents and neighbours from other areas.

“The project is very colourful and powerful and has allowed local young people to play their part in transforming their area into a vibrant, exciting place and is something they can be truly proud of.

The involvement and support of the bric Programme and the Housing Executive have been invaluable in making this scheme possible.As part of the initiative residents played an integral role in deciding who would be featured and what the project would look like and this has helped create a sense of civic pride that makes it very worthwhile.”

Stephen Magennis, Intra-Community Development Worker with Black Mountain Shared Space Project, said:

“Black Mountain Shared Space has been excited to be involved with the delivery of this mural project from its inception.

“We are pleased to have been able to engage local young people to assist with the painting of the mural. We are equally delighted that the mural has attracted interest from all sections of the community, including residents of Highfield and Springmartin estates.

“The mural has done a great job of brightening the area and creating an aesthetically pleasing focal point for both residents and visitors. BMSSP would like to commend Danny Devanney and his team and all the young people and residents involved for their excellent work. Thanks are also due to the bric Programme.

“Black Mountain Shared Space Project looks forward to helping develop further projects such as these that work to enhance community relations, improve the environment of the area, and benefit local residents.”

Welcoming the project, Kerry McIvor, BRIC Programme Manager, said:

“The bric Programme is delighted to have been involved with this project and we are thrilled by the hugely positive impact it has had on local residents and the ongoing role it is playing in cultivating and building community spirit in the Springfield Road area.

“This artwork is an exciting and eye-catching addition to Sliabh Dubh. It has not only enhanced the physical appearance of the area but has also helped capture the imagination and interest of the local residents.

“The support of the Housing Executive coupled with the hard work of Danny Devanney and his team, the local residents and everyone at Upper Springfield Development Trust, Fold Housing Association and Black Mountain Shared Spaces Project, have been invaluable in making this project such a huge success.”

Sharon Beattie, Housing Executive West Belfast Area Manager, said:

“The Housing Executive is delighted to be associated with the bric Programme and the invaluable work it does to help empower local communities to achieve their goals of creating neighbourliness and inclusiveness in all aspects of community life.

“The success of this initiative has been the incredible support from the local community and the young people being able to add such a positive message and imagery to their area.

“Our thanks are extended to all who have helped make it possible and I would encourage everyone to come and see this incredible transformation.”

Eileen Patterson, Director of Housing, FOLD Housing Association:

“FOLD Housing Association are delighted with the art work at Sliabh Dubh which has created a sense of pride for all of our residents.

“The art work creates a bright and positive entrance to the scheme and is something that those of all ages can relate too.

“A big thank you and congratulations to all those associated with this successful project, it has certainly created a talking point in the area and has seen the positive engagement of everyone.  FOLD are confident that Sliabh Dubh has now set the benchmark for other estates within the Upper Springfield area.”