The Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund is commissioning artists for the Paint the Town scheme through The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham council.
This regeneration scheme provides business owners with a chance to refresh their establishment’s image and entice new customers free of charge.
The aim of the scheme is to instil pride in the community and encourage people to venture out into the high-street once again, both in the day and at night.
There is also a belief that the scheme will reduce the amount of anti-social behaviour and crime in the area as residents gain renewed respect for the area.
Shopkeepers register their interest in the scheme and are then selected by the artists who work with the business owner to produce a design concept that suits the premises and is in keeping with the surrounding area.
The artists taking part in Paint the Town are Bread Collective, We Are Laura and Zarah Hussain.
Bread Collective are a five piece art collective who have decorated shop shutters around the town with comic book inspired text graphics bringing vibrancy and energy to takeaways, restaurants and newsagents alike.
Zarah Hussain has spread her Islam-inspired geometric art across many of the shutters of Barking. Her work is colourful and fun with enough restraint to avoid drawing attention away to the shop’s signage.
Design group We Are Laura is responsible for refreshing shop fronts by rebranding, removing old signs and decorating the windows with vinyls. Each shop front’s redesign is individually tailored to the business.
The artists involved in Paint the Town also spent time with students from Barking and Dagenham College. The students all submitted designs one of which was realised on one of the town’s shop shutter.
Similar low impact regeneration schemes are proving popular all over London including along Tower Bridge Road and in Willesden Green. In Barking there is now a waiting list for shops wishing to receive a makeover.