Initiated in 2016, Blackburn Open Walls has brought together a roster of artists annually to turn Blackburn into the unlikely home of a nationally and internationally relevant street art trail.
The programme took place through the Summer, as graphic artists, muralists, graffiti artists and painters descend on the town throwing up new works on specially selected walls spaces around the town centre. BOW was founded by two artists, Hayley Welsh and Alexandra Gallagher, and the event has seen curated gallery exhibitions, live street painting sessions, temporary installations, art tours and creative workshops. Each year, opportunities have also been created for students and art graduates, such as Emma Colbert, to present their first public artworks on temporary hoarding..
Artworks have been created by Faunagraphic, Add Fuel, Annatomix, Curtis Hylton, Cosmo Sarson, Nomad Clan, Jerome Davenport and Mr Christa to name a few. This list includes artists from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and New York.
Highlights are artworks by: Case Ma’Claim from Frankfurt with ‘The Origin Of Things’, depicting a single beam of light from a head torch as a boy examines a tiny birds skull; Cosmo Sarson from Brighton, who’s glitter strewn woman appears to be cascading through a body of water; and Phlegm from Sheffield, who has created a detailed, imaginative work interpreting Blackburn’s heritage as a mill town, with a curious creature sitting at a loom.
These can be seen at the back of Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Fielden Street and Northgate respectively.
The beauty of these artworks is that any Blackburn daytripper is more than likely to happen across one of these fantastic walls, scattered around town. The development of these blank spaces has created an enticing offer in Blackburn and transformed forgotten and dilapidated buildings.
If you’d like a more structured approach to viewing these artworks, you can use an online map and / or this downloadable visual PDF and begin at the back of Blackburn Museum and Gallery creating a circular route around town. It’s worth bearing in mind that the maps are not fully up to date with recent years’ works, and some of the works that were created as temporary installations can no longer be seen.