Norwich has an abundance of art to explore and uncover, proudly displayed not only in museums and galleries but now also on ‘blank canvases’ - buildings with bare walls which, when combined with exciting and vibrant murals, are the ideal way to bring art to the masses!
Image: the Virgin Money mural at The Back of the Inns
Image: the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
As the first city in England to be awarded UNESCO City of Literature status in 2012, and one lucky enough to have welcomed a range of fantastic exhibitions, retrospectives and art collections over the years, Norwich should be one of the first port of calls in the country for art lovers to flock to. There are three main museums here: Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery; The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell; and Strangers’ Hall, all of which host their fair share of exhibitions and exciting pieces of artistic history.
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, on the University of East Anglia’s campus, has not only an incredible permanent collection (with art spanning thousands and years and from multiple continents) but also an exciting array of special exhibitions (with great supporting events including workshops, guided exhibition tours, studio sessions and much more) whilst East GalleryNUA, right in the city centre, has a regularly-changing programme of exciting exhibitions. Head over to Country & Eastern on Bethel Street which has an amazing array of South Asian works too.
Image: the Pymm & Co Mural on Ber Street
However, we can add a new artistic element to the city - art is now on the outside and no longer constrained by gallery space or opening time. There are four new murals around the city to hunt out, all using buildings in Norwich as their blank canvases, and you ca go and see them anytime!
Start the mural hunt on Ber Street; head to Pymm & Co Estate Agents, near John Lewis, and look up at the side of the building. You’ll see a quirky, vibrant cityscape of Norwich designed by Norwich University of the Arts graduate Poppy Cole. She’s incorporated various buildings and institutions in Norwich, including: Noriwch Cathedral; Norwich Castle; Jarrolds; Thorns DIY; and many others, all cleverly grouped together to create this vivid scene!
Next take a walk down Westlegate and turn right onto Red Lion Street; on the side of the Tesco building, above Evans, you’ll see a big friendly dragon! Painted in vibrant red and yellow hues, this dragon looks down above shoppers as they head to and from the shops and businesses along St Stephen’s and Red Lion Street. Dragons have long played a part in Norwich’s history, and this dynamic dragon – designed by artist Malca Shotten - certainly adds some colour and excitement to the building!
Head over to Rampant Horse street and stop outside Hatch Brenner Solicitors. The side of one of their buildings has been transformed with a striking line art mural by Beverley Coaraldean; combining lines, shapes, and outlines of buildings, this mural is a stunning addition!
Finally the impressive 3D-effect mural, created by Derek Jackson, can be seen on Virgin Money building among the Back of the Inns. He has designed a great illustration featuring book ends and spines which give a great 3D-effect to the mural, and ties in nicely with Norwich's City of Literature status.
You can get involved in the Murals Art Trail around the city via the Discover Norwich app; it cleverly uses GPS technology to work out which murals you’ve uncovered and which are still left to be visited! The app is free to download on iOs and Android.