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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Talented local artist brings colour to Ballymena town centre

Pictured with Leanne are: James Perry – Parish representative, Emma MCrea - BID Manager, Ald Noel Williams - The Mayor, Karen O’Neill - DfC (funders), Gail Kelly - Town Centre Development Manager, Eamon McMullan – Regeneration Capital Development Manager
Pictured with Leanne are: James Perry – Parish representative, Emma MCrea - BID Manager, Ald Noel Williams - The Mayor, Karen O’Neill - DfC (funders), Gail Kelly - Town Centre Development Manager, Eamon McMullan – Regeneration Capital Development Manager

Leanne McClelland, a talented freelance artist and designer from Ballymena, has recently completed a commission to deliver a mural in the town centre as part of the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme.


The programme is 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.

 


Leanne has been working with the Ballymena Business Investment District (BID) and Council to deliver a mural in the Church Street Arcade to commemorate one of the last remaining seven towers of Ballymena, The Old Parish Church, to brighten up the streets of Ballymena and bring joy to the area.


The design of the mural is truly unique, with Leanne taking inspiration from the church grounds, including the plants, types of trees, colours, and birds that visited.

 

The design of the mural is truly unique, with Leanne taking inspiration from the church grounds, including the plants, types of trees, colours, and birds that visited.


Her symmetrical trademark design is centred around the parish church tower, with the Ballymena seven towers shield image behind. The design also includes the magpie - a symbol of wisdom and joy -which is regularly seen in the church grounds.

 

The original Church Tower and graveyard can still be seen on Church Street and plans are currently underway to open up this historical site to the public. The Old Parish Church was replaced by St Patricks Church, the main Parish Church in Ballymena's Anglican parish of Kirkinriola and Ballyclug in 1855 and is located on Castle Street.

 


James Perry, Parish representative, who liaised with Council on the production of a Tercentenary Guide entitled 'If These Stones Could Talk', commented:


"Congratulations to BID and Council on taking the initiative to have a commemorative mural in Church Street Arcade. The striking image created by Leanne is an excellent way in which to draw attention to this important aspect of the history of Church Street".


The new mural in the Church Street Arcade to commemorate one of the last remaining seven towers of Ballymena, The Old Parish Church.
The new mural in the Church Street Arcade to commemorate one of the last remaining seven towers of Ballymena, The Old Parish Church.
The new mural in the Church Street Arcade to commemorate one of the last remaining seven towers of Ballymena, The Old Parish Church.

Speaking to Love Ballymena artist Leanne said:


"This is the largest mural that I have done to date and only my second using spray paint and paint markers.


"I usually work by hand painting murals so i had to overcome lots of self-doubt and fear doing this one because of the sheer size of it! The process was challenging but I’m glad I seen it through. I battled my inner critic and managed to blend in my signature style with the magpies.


Some of Leanne’s other work.
Some of Leanne’s other work.

"I am proud of this 22metre piece that brightens up Church Street Arcade, inspired by the Old Church Parish. I hope the residents of Ballymena are too.


"I’m so thankful for the opportunity given - it was a dream come true and hopefully I will have more opportunities to work again with BID. Colour brings life. And I welcome any opportunity to help add colour and life to any wall made available!"

 

More of Leanne’s work can be seen by following her business LM Commercial Design on Instagram at Lmcommercialdesign and Facebook at leannemcdesign.



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