Street artist helps pupils at Co Down primary school receive creative lesson in positivity with new wall art

A much-needed pop of color has been added to the traditional gray and white brick entrance of a primary school in Co Down.

he vibrant transformation of Kilcooley Primary in Bangor has delighted students and staff alike.

The children were allowed to take a break from the classroom and express themselves creatively on the outside of the building, which is now awash with color and positive words and sayings.

Everything was realized with the help of local street artist Chris McGuiggan – also known as CODO Art.

Mr McGuiggan said it was great to be involved with the project and described how the students were “at the forefront”.

“I think art is such a powerful tool for mindfulness and for kids to express themselves, it’s such an important thing,” he said.

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“I’ve never done anything of this scale before, so it was a personal and mental struggle as well, but now I can sit back and look at it and think, ‘this is pretty cool’.”

Children are now greeted by blocks of color and uplifting, positive words and expressions as they walk through their school’s doors.

Students also shared how the project helped brighten their day.

Seventh Elementary School students Bella Wright and Darcie Kennedy said the colorful walls make them “happy” when they come to school.

Classmate Riley McClelland said, “It puts a smile on my face because the walls used to be gray and now they’re very colorful.”

Jonny Hall, a Primary 7 teacher, said the building was “an incredibly positive addition to school life in Kilcooley”.

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“Most of our students come in through the back entrance of the school and it wasn’t very welcoming; it was gray and a bit boring, not particularly welcoming to the students that came into the school, so the staff got together and thought, ‘We need to do something creative here,'” he explained.

“I heard about some of the work Chris had done in the community and he involved a lot of young people in his street art and also did a lot of work with mental health and using art as mindfulness.

“Obviously in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, mental health and creating a positive mindset is more important than ever, so we’ve put that very heavily into the curriculum.

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“It’s part of the ethos of our school so it’s nice now that the outside of the building can reflect what’s going on inside and that much-needed pop of color can help lift everyone’s spirits when they’re at the school.” arrive.

“When I asked all the students to say what makes them happy, they mentioned some people in the community who help us, like Sup Hub NI, who take the kids paddleboarding, as well as Reaching Out Homeless Support and the Barn Animal Rescue for We do a lot of charity work, so it’s great to give them a little praise as well.”

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