The fantastic Strand mural in Southsea that was first painted by Mark Lewis in 1997 needs our city’s support. Over the past 24 years Mark has made lots of additions and updates to the artwork to reflect our ever-changing city as well as adding commissions by local people to the mural.
Earlier this week our local councillors and campaigners were surprised to see Mark’s artwork being used as another political point scoring match between the Portsmouth Lib Dems and Conservatives, after Mark put in a bid for community funds to repair and refresh the artwork.
Cllr Judith Smyth who represents St Jude ward which borders the Strand mural said: “I’m disappointed the neighbouring Tory councillors have decided not to support the funding bid put forward by Mark, but I’m also even more concerned that the Lib Dems running the city council are using this as an opportunity to score political points and collect people’s personal information. As the administration have already pointed out they could just approve this much needed funding at cabinet without having to collect resident’s email addresses for their own gain. Our local creatives are under enough pressure due to the pandemic, let’s not make it any harder”.
Cllr Smyth also encouraged Mark to share his bid with her and her St Jude ward councillor colleagues who would look at the bid and see if it was possible to allocate him the funding he desperately needs from the St Jude CIL funding pot.
Cllr Smyth went on to say: “Times are incredibly hard for our local creative community in Portsmouth and we must do all we can to support them. Today I’ve personally commissioned some additions to the city mural map. What a wonderful way to celebrate people’s birthday by having them painted on this amazing artwork. If you can I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this unique offer. I look forward to seeing the additions I’ve commissioned to the map and the approval of the funding Mark so desperately needs”.
We will keep you updated on Mark’s bid and would encourage residents to lobby their ward councillors directly to urge them to support the bid. If you would like to help Mark maintain this Southsea icon by having a portrait added or simply chipping in some funds to support then please contact Mark by clicking here.