The Story Behind The Art That Lights Up Harden Road In Goscote

You may have seen these giant art works as you drive through Goscote – Jayne Howarth finds out more.

The NHS banner, in tribute to those working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic

Walsall charity workers have been keeping people’s spirits up with their colourful artwork in front of The Harden Centre, in Goscote.

Stella Pettifer, who works for St Aidan’s Care Team, and her colleagues Lisa Tipton and Kim Downes spend hours thinking about how they can create eye-catching seasonal displays or artwork that celebrates big events.

Last month, they created a piece of art about the Tokyo Olympics and earlier this year, there was one that paid tribute to NHS workers during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Other displays include those for Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

Christmas display

Each one is painted on to wood and is about 44ft long and more than 6ft 5inches high – and it takes about ten days from the first drawing concept to completion.

The installations have been made on large sheets of material, after the team received a substantial donation of rolls of cotton, but now they are done on wood, which are stronger and more stable.

Disney-themed art for Christmas

“We’ve been making the displays for about 14 years and have covered all kinds of events from royal weddings to the World Cup, VE Day and Poppy Day,” said Stella.

“We tend to do seasonal ones and then anything special that involves England sports teams or Great Britain. After the Olympics one we repurposed it for the Paralympics, using its logo.

Goscote Art Brings Smiles To Faces Of Locals

“We love doing them because they brighten up the space and we know they bring a smile to people’s faces. We’ll be doing one for Halloween next and will then put up one for Poppy Day, as well as decorate the fence at Harden Hall care home across the road.”

Although they focus on national sporting events, the St Aidan’s Care Team made an exception for Walsall Football Club in 2015, when the team made it to Wembley for the Football League Trophy final.

They made their first artwork in 2009 after seeing a festive display out of town when they took a group of youngsters from the Harden Centre, where the charity runs run playgroups and youth clubs, to see Father Christmas. Stella said she knew she could do better.

olympics 2021 art

The Tokyo 2020-inspired banner that was on display this summer


“The children were enchanted by it but I thought I could do one lot better, so when we got back we got to work and did one,” she said. “It went down really well and it’s just gone on since then. We look forward to putting them up.

“It’s a lot of work and the painting takes the longest time, but we try to reuse what we can so as not to waste resources. Next year will be busy as it the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, so we’ll have to do something good for that.”

The artwork can be seen at the centre, on Harden Road, Goscote, WS3 1RQ.