Eye-catching floral walls helping to revitalise Mid and East Antrim towns

A new floral art initiative has added a splash of colour to three Mid and East Antrim towns.

Residents and visitors may have recently caught sight of the eye-catching art installations in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne.

The Green Wall Project – a series of living floral walls - aims to complement recent public realm environmental improvement schemes underway in the towns. Additionally, a number of public artworks and parklets have been unveiled.

Reflecting the area’s history and heritage, the projects are part of a Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme funded by the Department for Communities, Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Infrastructure - and administered by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The Mayor, Alderman Noel Williams, with artist Sophie Mess.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, explained: “One of council’s primary objectives has been to revitalise our town centres with the aim of increasing footfall and stimulating increased economic activity. As well as being more environmentally friendly, improving pedestrian walkways, providing greenways and making our towns more attractive environments, we are firmly on the correct path to achieving this.

“In addition to having fabulous retail and hospitality offerings in Mid and East Antrim, which appeal to residents and visitors alike, council hopes these measures will help promote civic pride with a reflection of the distinctive heritage and character of each location on show for all to see.”

Uplifting Beauty

One mural on Ballymena’s Wellington Street was inspired by the history of the town’s seven towers.

Gail Kelly, town centre development manager Mid and East Antrim (MEA); Leanne Dickson, Rebel Events; Emma McCrea, Ballymena BID manager; the Mayor, Alderman Noel Williams; Eamon McMullan, capital Regeneration Manager (MEA) and Karen O’Neill, Department for Communities, at one of the floral walls.

Artist Sophie Mess said: “I always work on designs from my own photographs of flowers and, ultimately, I want my murals to be a source of joy, with their bold and cheerful colours and the uplifting beauty of nature, whilst also inviting the viewer’s imagination to wonder and find new perspectives of the natural world.”

She continued: “The flowers are a dahlia hybrid which is significant as they represent wealth, change and creativity, a fitting symbol for the area’s history: rich farmland and mineral deposits meant the town was turned into a prosperous market town and now the vibrant hub it is today.”

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The Mayor added: “I trust these splashes of colour and public realm initiatives will be warmly welcomed by all.”

Eamon McMullan, capital regeneration manager Mid and East Antrim; the Mayor, Alderman Noel Williams and Karen O’Neill, Department for Communities with the owners (back) of Juliano's, Ballymena.
Karen O’Neill, Department for Communities; Emma McCrea, Ballymena BID manager; the Mayor, Alderman Noel Williams and Eamon McMullan, capital regeneration manager, Mid and East Antrim, at the Wellington Court mural.