Wirral artist paints ‘murals of hope’ in midst of coronavirus crisis

From superheroes to rainbows, meet the local street artist determined to put a smile on residents faces.  

As residents on the Wirral face their fourth week in lockdown, lives across the borough – for the time being, at least – have been left on pause. 

Consequently, thousands of families face uncertain, anxious times – and residents are in need of hope and cheer.

However, one local artist has made a valiant effort to bolster the region’s spirits by painting our street walls in a sea of rainbow colours.

Tia Bell works and lives on the Wirral as an independent artist and curator for Canvas Life Online. 

In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Mrs Bell is bolstering spirits by painting ‘murals of hope’ throughout the region. 

A resident poses outside one of Tia’s hopeful murals on Hampstead Street in Poulton (Credit: Tia Bell, Canvas Art Online)

Her mission is to bring joy and happiness to the lives of local residents – particularly in lockdown times where anxiety and uncertainty is high.

Inspired by the thousands of rainbows dotting household windows, Mrs Bell wanted to extend and “spread a little love in these tough times”. 

Mrs Bell said: “I saw pictures of people’s rainbows and saw how they were making people smile, and I wanted to do the same.

“While thinking of ideas, I remembered how much everyone loved being able to interact with a Peter Pan themed mural I did in New Brighton. 

“So, I decided to use my free time to do something that the whole community could enjoy while out on their walks.

“I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had a wall they wouldn’t mind letting me loose on, and I had quite a few responses – so I just went from there.”

Mrs Bell, who is expecting, immediately installed three colourful murals on Hampstead Road in Poulton, and Dalmorton Road and Concept Corner in New Brighton. 

From superheroes to rainbows and sunshine, Mrs Bell has lovingly crafted each wall with her paints and materials. 

Mrs Bell said:

“We’re living in a time where it feels like we’re living in a Netflix film or something. I don’t know how any of us are supposed to handle this without some anxiety; I’m just fortunate that I have had my partner and my dogs to keep me sane (and insane!)

“It’s something for the kids to look for a spot while they are out, it brings people together online, and it gives us something positive to talk about together. “

Tia Bell, Canvas Art Online

“We’re not allowed anywhere at the moment, not even to play in the parks. It’s nice to be able to take a photo doing something different. Plus it’s something special to remember, even while we’re in this epidemic.”

Tia’s first mural was created on the outside of Concept Corner in New Brighton, and has been brightening up people’s daily exercise ever since (Credit: Tia Bell, Canvas Art Online)

As requests and demand continued to grow, Mrs Bell ran out of paint and money to fund further installations – so, she turned to the community for help.

Mrs Bell was soon ‘blown away’ by the generosity of the public.

She said: “I ran out of paint and money after the last three murals, so people suggested I fundraise for it. 

“I started today with a £150 goal, and I am at £225 already… I can’t believe it. I am so thankful – and I am going to get three more done before the baby arrives!”

Mrs Bell’s street art, bursting with colour, has brought otherwise ordinary streets to life during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Photos and videos of families encountering Mrs Bell’s walls have since spread on social media, with an overwhelmingly positive response. 

One local resident, Joanne Po, hopes the mural installations continue to pop up throughout the peninsula.

Mrs Po said: “Keep them. Why not? They are like scars or tattoos to mark our journey.

“They are colourful and meaningful to an otherwise boring, dull wall.

“I’ve seen so many beautiful murals decorating other towns and cities… these walls are no different. Bring it on; more of, please!”

Rowan Gower, from Moreton, told Mersey Community News the walls are a ‘wonderful example of Wirral’s community spirit’.

Mr Gower said:

“When the Wuhan evacuees came to isolate in Arrowe Park, Wirral opened up their hearts. Now, even though we’re walking in their boots, these beautiful murals prove our generosity and community spirit is alive.

Rowan Gower, Wirral resident from Moreton.

“When the Wuhan evacuees came to isolate in Arrowe Park, Wirral opened up their hearts. Now, even though we’re walking in their boots, these murals prove that our generosity and community spirit is alive. 

“I walk past the mural every single day, and it fills me with hope. They’ve brightened up the community. My little girl wants to be an artist when she’s older, and she loves seeing them. She’s very inspired.” 

Tia hopes her colourful installations will inspire motivate walkers and inspire hope (Credit: Tia Bell, Canvas Art Online)

Plans for future murals are underway, with announcements being made on Mrs Bell’s Facebook and Instagram page, Canvas Life Online. 

Mrs Bell hopes her murals will inspire other artists in the area to brighten up Wirral’s towns and villages with hope.

Mrs Bell said: “Thanks to this project, I have spoken to far more people than I usually do.

“I hope my murals motivate people to be creative in whatever way is meaningful to them.  

“I want to remind people to stay hopeful, as this situation is not forever – even though it feels like it right now.”

Tia continues to raise funds for paints, materials and supplies. Furthermore, she is looking for walls to host her artwork.

If you are interested in learning more about her work, please visit her Facebook page or her Instagram account.