“It is important to us that we support our local communities”
Joanna Buckley, Community Manager at Avanti West Coast, explains how a large-scale art project helped connect local people in Wigan.
16 February, 2022
Joanna Buckley, Community Manager at Avanti West Coast, shares how transforming a blank space at Wigan North Western can help strengthen connections with people and places.
At Avanti West Coast we want our stations to be a part of the communities they serve, so when South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership approached us with the idea of creating a large-scale mural in the subway of Wigan North Western we were eager to support.
Creating inspiring artwork for our stations offers the chance to celebrate regions we’re proud to serve. The Wigan Mural Project enabled us to champion the town of Wigan through its dialect – Wiganese.
It is important to us that we support our local communities. We wanted to work with a local artist to give them an opportunity, while offering the people of Wigan the chance to contribute their skills and ideas.
"Creating inspiring artwork for our stations offers the chance to celebrate regions we’re proud to serve.”
Lettering artist, Jess Riley, whose family live and work in Wigan, responded to our appeal to create bespoke artwork at the station. Jess’s style of art is uplifting and joyful – we thought it would be perfect for the station.
We loved how Jess talked about bringing some of the local stories and places to life – using the River Douglas, or ‘Dougie’ as locals call it, which flows through the town as the inspiration for her A-to-Z of Wigan.
Having worked with independent businesses, Jess had connections within the community. She engaged with locals of all ages, inviting them to share words and phrases that meant something to them. This was integral to drawing inspiration from local people and capturing their spirit and character, as we want artwork at our stations to reflect the regions they’re a part of.
I hope the mural brings a smile to people’s faces, helps the community recognise some of the local stories and character, as well as learning something new. Afterall, our stations are here to connect people and places, and what better way to do it than through art created by our communities.
Images (Top to bottom): Steve Johnson (Avanti West Coast Customer Service Assistant) views Wigan Mural; Panel from Wigan Mural; Jess Riley's idea for the Wigan Mural design; Customers in subway adorned with mural artwork
To find out more about the mural click here