CC AGM Mountain Art Mural at Kendal Climbing Wall

Laetitia and David

Last summer in the Cirque of the Unclimbables we met David Russell… David is a prolific big wall climber and a mural artist. He runs his own not-for-profit company, Mobile Mural Lab, in Los Angeles California. Anyway, one thing led to another and so it was that the Climbers’ Club agreed to bring David to the UK to be our guest speaker before the CC’s 2016 AGM in Kendal…

An inspiring presentation of big wall climbing across the Americas from Canada, thru the US, and on in to Patagonia was enjoyed by all who attended the AGM and talk.

However, for me the highlight of David’s visit was the community art project at the Lakeland Climbing Centre

I’d had the idea to ask David to consider a mural project as part of his visit and when he said he’d love to do it I set about finding a venue. The obvious choice – the town’s awesome indoor climbing wall – were more than keen to take part. It took some thinking through though as we really wanted to find a large wall to create a fantastic and standout mural. The area outside the centre was a very plain and neglected corrugated wall. But, as the series of pictures below show we took this ugly wall and created something amazing and lasting that will hopefully be enjoyed by hundreds of people for many years to come!

The wall before the project
The wall before the project
Ready to paint!
Ready to paint!
Thanks to Jeremy, Paul, Kate, and the whole team at the climbing centre for getting those steel panels up and primed ready for the project.
Dave Viggers and Pete Sterling applying an orange background
Dave Viggers and Pete Sterling applying an orange background
Who knew? Well arty sorts will likely know that this surprising background helps with popping the colours of the finished mural
On Sunday morning the first colours got applied to the mural by a team of eager helpers...  Community art bringing people together!
On Sunday morning the first colours got applied to the mural by a team of eager helpers…
Community art bringing people together!

We had loads of helpers, tea makers, brush washers, and positive praisers helping out. Apologies to those who we didn’t get photos of, however, here is a set of key artists at work…

Kathy hard at work creating the sky
Kathy hard at work creating the sky
The community art workshop in full swing - artists working right across the mural
The community art workshop in full swing – artists working right across the mural
Steve working hard on the Lakeland Climbing Centre logo
Steve working hard on the Lakeland Climbing Centre logo
David working hard on one of the three landscape art "windows"
David working hard on one of the three landscape art “windows”
The finished mural!
After – the finished mural!

In jest we’ve called the mural “Cold Steel” as the temperatures throughout the four days of hard work were baltic! Add to that the location on a north facing shadowy wall that hid us from the sun that shone brilliantly on Monday – while many people were out enjoying the fells we were hard pressed against the freezing steel sheets completing the mural before David returned to the US.

I hope you agree, the finished mural does everyone justice and is a fantastic community art installation. Long may it last and give pleasure to users of the gym, remind people of the Climbers’ Club’s small contribution to mountain culture and how so many different people came together to make it happen…

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