A transformation of Leicester’s controversial St. George’s tower, colloquially known as the Blue Tower and located at the top of Granby Street, is underway this week as the iconic building is set to become home to Europe’s tallest piece of street art.
The BID Leicester funded project has been developed alongside local arts organization Graffwerk, the team behind the recent ‘Bring The Paint’ street art festival, who have been involved in the project from conception to delivery. The sky-scraping artwork is being is being painted by a team of Leicester’s most talented street artists; Leigh Drummond, Rich Peacock, Wing Lo and Ben Edwards.
When complete, it will be the third tallest piece of street art in the world, standing at an impressive 82 metres tall and covering a total of 717.5 square metres.
The design of the piece has been kept under wraps by the organisers but will include themes that represent various aspects of Leicester’s unique heritage and culture. People in the city centre will be able to watch the artwork take shape over the course of the next four weeks.
The project will continue to realise BID Leicester’s mission to improve the city centre for those who work, live, and visit by creating a more attractive environment. The new large-scale mural, with its location near the train station, will provide visitors with an immediate and visually striking welcome to the city. BID Leicester Director, Simon Jenner, said:
“The artwork being created on St. George’s tower is a colourful and ambitious testament to the incredible creative talent of the city, and I’m incredibly proud of the fact that it’s been created by local artists.
“The project is an example of the BID continuing to provide bigger and better things for Leicester city-centre, through proactively delivering initiatives which create a real and lasting change to the visual landscape. As well as transforming the building, the artwork is expected to give a boost to the visitor economy and will support tourism by continuing to raise Leicester’s profile as a cultural destination.”
Graffwerk has worked on previous projects with BID Leicester, most recently including Bring The Paint street art festival in May 2022. The organization, based at Frog Island arts centre The Mill by GRAFFWERK, work as a dynamic arts enterprise delivering major street art and educational projects which have a huge impact on the visual environment. Graffwerk said about this project:
“We’re tremendously thrilled to be delivering this project after three years of planning and are extremely grateful to BID Leicester for sharing our vision to transform this iconic landmark in the heart of Leicester City Leicester. From the conception of the project, it was always important to us that the artwork was delivered by Leicester artists, and we are proud of the incredibly talented team that are working on this with us.”
For the artists, who are all based in Leicester, it’s a chance for their work to be seen by new audiences, as well as the unique opportunity to work on a project at a huge scale. The collective of artists involved said:
“We are all local to Leicestershire and have seen our city go through various changes over the years overall for the better, aesthetically and socially.
“St George’s Tower has been the subject of discussion for a few years now ever since it was painted blue, with mixed feelings over the aesthetic. This led to further discussions about potentially painting a mural on the building and thanks to Graffwerk and BID Leicester three years later; here we are.”
“The building, like all art in general and the mural that will adorn it, is a subject to opinion. Some will love it some will not but this is the nature of art – not always to everyone’s taste but sparks conversation and allows us to think and exist on a level that no other animal can. Humanity is freedom, the ability to question, form opinions and exist as individuals, art is key to this higher state.”
The blue tower mural is being painted now, with the artists scaling the building to create the piece over the following four weeks. Tag your pictures on social media #LeicesterBlueTower