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Arcade is pretty as a picture

Bedford College Group students
More than a centenary of history is being celebrated with the installation of an eye-catching piece of artwork on the High Street of Bedford.

The final artwork was by student Scarlett White but she acknowledges it was a team effort by her fellow artists at the South Banks Arts Centre of Bedford College and lecturer Richard Lloyd.

The Arcade owners Padmanor Investments, wanted artwork which would capture people’s attention as far down the High Street as the Town Bridge. The colourful scape of colours means the artwork is clearly visible on the side of Coffee Republic.

Three people standing with High street artwork.

Bedford High Street boasts a wide range of independent shops and cafes. The Edwardian Arcade, often incorrectly called the Victorian Arcade, has been undergoing a revival with 21st Century facilities such as free wi-fi, and a wider choice of units on the ground and first floors, meaning small and start-up businesses have set up shop there.

In addition to funding by the Edwardian Arcade owners, contributions were made by BedfordBID and Bedford College.

The BedfordBID, which promotes 100s of town centre businesses via the Love Bedford brand said: “The High Street is the main route through which people pass through the town centre, so to have this artwork at a key intersection is a signal that we are investing in the future, whilst maintaining the best of the past of the town centre.

Toby Clark, Director of the Arts at Bedford College, said: “This was a great commission for our students, something which is designed to be on display for decades. In addition to the artistic inspirations they took from Bedford’s past, they had to tackle with 21st Century technology with regard to the materials used to protect and position the artwork.

Said Scarlett: “While I was studying Fine Art at Bedford College in 2018, Paul Carver, Asset Manager at Kirkby Diamond acting on behalf of the Arcade’s owner, Padmanor Investment, commissioned our class to design a mural that would be hung above Bedford High Street”.

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