22nd November 2022

Giant Abbey murals at The Apex

Two new, giant low relief murals were unveiled at The Apex entertainment centre in Bury St Edmunds on St Edmund’s Day, Sunday 20 November.

Created by freelance artist Louise Gridley from Sugi Ceramics, and each measuring 13m square, the sculptural murals were designed to celebrate 1000 years of the Abbey of St Edmund with a ‘Then and Now’ theme. The first panel depicts the story of St Edmund, while the second showcases key landmarks from the town as it is today.

Funding for the ambitious project was sought from Arts Council England with contributions from Abbey 1000 C.I.C. and Moyses Hall Museum. Other project partners included West Suffolk Council, The Apex, who provided the location for the mural, and Abbeygate Sixth Form College who made the generous space available for Louise to work as artist-in-residence for six months.

Louise designed the mural and invited local schools with A Level provision to participate. Staff and students from Abbeygate Sixth Form College, St Benedict’s Catholic School, One Sixth Form College and Thurston Community College all contributed to help realise the design.

As part of the workshop experience students learned about career pathways in the arts, which included life as a freelance artist and prop making in the film industry. Louise and the students worked with revolutionary sculpting material, Pal Tiya Premium, which is also used for prop making.

Commenting on the mural project Louise said; “I wanted to make a legacy art piece for our town that celebrates our rich heritage. It was important to me that young people within our community were involved in the making of the work as it will be their legacy gift to future generations.”

The part-time artist / part-time teacher admitted that this was her most ambitious project to date; “There were a few scary moments when I worried that the installation deadline of 19 November may not be met. But all worked out with St Edmund gaining his rightful place on the wall in time for his feast day. I would like to thank all the amazing project partners and participants for making this project a reality.”

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