Mural adds a splash of colour to subway

Artist June McEwan pictured putting finishing touches to the artwork at Telfer Underpass helped by her son Rory
Artist June McEwan pictured putting finishing touches to the artwork at Telfer Underpass helped by her son Rory
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Grey, drab and covered in graffiti – one of Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfares was far from its prettiest.

But Fountainbridge has been brightened up after a colourful mural was added to the Telfer Subway, featuring illustrations conjured up in the imaginations of schoolchildren.

The Fountain Park Community Mural has been overseen by artist June McEwan.

The 52-year-old was awarded the commission by the operators of the Fountain Park Centre – which owns the stretch of wall – after the leisure complex was repeatedly left on the receiving end of council fines to cover the cost of cleaning off graffiti.

June, who has been working as an artist for more than 30 years, said the reaction to the addition has been positive.

She said: “According to the people walking past, they’re happy because it has brightened up the area and they like the way that it’s made up of children’s work.

“People are saying how much better it looks and it is hoped that it might reduce the amount of graffiti.”

On board the project were creative youngsters from Boroughmuir High and Dalry Primary, the Garvald Centre for adults with disabilities and local reading groups, who sketched ideas at workshops, which June then drew on to the wall and painted.

A group of third years from Boroughmuir High helped to paint the mural itself – despite last week’s fierce wind and rain – and youngsters from Dalry Primary are also set to pick up their paintbrushes this week. Set against a backdrop of light blue, the wall features brightly coloured characters, including a fairy, a pink bird and even a local dog.

“There’s been lots of interest from passers-by. One guy comes up and down here every day with his dog, so I painted his dog,” said June.

“Another guy said I would have to paint him as he was a real character in the area.”

June – who in 1998 helped restore The King’s Dining Room in Edinburgh Castle to its former glory – was also involved in painting a mural at the other end of the Telfer Subway 13 years ago, again with the help of Dalry Primary School.

Fountainbridge councillor Andrew Buchan said: “I’m pleased to see an artist has been commissioned to design this mural and I’m delighted the project has involved school children and community groups.

“It’s great that the Fountain Park complex has been able to ensure that this project has been able to happen.”

Mary Turner, general manager of Fountain Park, said: “As part of our continuing support of the local community, Fountain Park is very pleased to fund this initiative that involved lots of community groups and local schools. Feedback from the public has been tremendous and we will endeavour to support and encourage future projects of this kind.”