Painting the Town

An innovative new commercial partnership project is aiming to revitalise Blackpool and reinvigorate its community by painting the town in a specially created range of colours inspired by resident stories and memories of the resort.

LeftCoast, in partnership with Johnstone’s Paint, has created a range of decorative paint colours called ‘Painting the Town’. The range has been developed out of a LeftCoast artist commission delivered by Blackpool based artist, Laura Shevaun Green, who wanted to develop a palette of colours inspired by resident stories to illustrate the resilience of the town and its communities.

Each of the 10 core paint colours has its own story – each a homage to individual experiences of the town and the places that impact on the real lives of Blackpool’s residents.

They are called Ghost Train, Bandstand, Ballroom, Arcade, North Pier, Herring Gull, Salisbury Yellow, Tangerine Coast, Lawson Green and Sea Snail.

The ‘Painting the Town’ range will be commercially available, firstly to trade partners then launched to the domestic market in the future. A percentage of the profits from paint sales will be used by LeftCoast to invest in arts and culture in the town to support resident health and wellbeing.

The paint has already been made available to local companies and community groups to start the physical job of painting the town and creating people’s own paintings of the things like love about Blackpool.

The aim is to use the paint range across 25% per cent of the town’s commercial floorspace within the next five years.

The paint range was officially launched today at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, where 10 core colours from the palette and 122 gallons of paint have been used to transform Ocean Boulevard along the promenade, close to the new Boulevard Hotel.

LeftCoast Artistic Director Tina Redford, said: “Blackpool and its people has a generosity of spirit and a capacity to keep on lifting you up whenever life pulls you down. Through this project we are encouraging the people of Blackpool paint a fresh picture of the town both for visitors and for themselves.

 “The aim is to do exactly what it says on the paint tin and literally get people Painting the Town, one room, one home and one business at time…starting with Ocean Boulevard at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.”

Tina continued: “Through the very physical, iterative action of painting the town and the cross-sector collaborations it creates, the Painting The Town programme will not only foster civic connections and build social capital across Blackpool and its communities, but will empower local businesses to explore the impact of how working together to apply a more colourful approach to Blackpool’s built environment can reshape resident, visitor and investor perceptions for the long term.”

Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “We are delighted to be working with LeftCoast and Johnstone’s Paint using the architecture of Ocean Boulevard to bring the Painting the Town palette to life, and are honoured that one of the core colours has been inspired by the Ghost Train.”

Twenty companies and community organisations have already been approached to join in with the project, which LeftCoast hopes to extend across Lancashire and the whole of the UK, offering people the authentic Blackpool colour experience through Johnstone’s Paint, and its 1,222 Decorating Centres across the country.

Gareth Jones, National Key Account Manager at Johnstone’s Trade Paints, commented: “Blackpool is a place filled with happy memories for so many people. Colour has played an important role in the town’s heritage and also in evoking these memories for residents and visitors, so we’ve enjoyed using it to inspire and reinvigorate the town.

“We love the opportunity to get creative with colour and we’ve really been able to do that by working with the team at LeftCoast, creating a palette that will have a positive impact on so many people. The bright purple looks fantastic on Ocean Boulevard and we’re excited to see how the rest of the town will use the colours as part of its wider revitalisation plan.”

In spring 2020 LeftCoast will create a pop up space in one of the Ocean Boulevard units to engage visitors, community groups and businesses with the paint palette and the stories behind it and encourage take up of the range for their own premises and settings.

One of the colours, North Pier pink, is based on local woman Susan Frye’s childhood memories of the pier, where she spent many long, hot days enjoying the candyfloss with her mother and sisters in the 1950s:

Peering down at her feet she sees the waves crashing through the gaps in the wooden boards.

The voices of her sisters blow past her on the light breeze. They’re somewhere behind her and out of sight. Her mother’s hand holds tightly to her own, fingers sticky and pink from the remains of a sugary treat.

Together they stroll down the walkway, past the deck chairs and stalls, to the very, very end.

It stretches out in front of them, the deep blue waters and the feeling of freedom, on this, the first day of summer.

Plans for Painting the Town don’t just stop at this. LeftCoast is aiming to eventually offer every town and every person in the UK a splash of the authentic Blackpool experience that they can enjoy in the comfort of their home or business.

Tina added: “If people have fond memories of being spun around Blackpool Tower Ballroom, there’s a colour story to match and it would look great in the living room. What about that unforgettable family day at Stanley Park listening to music on the bandstand? There’s a colour story to match that too and it’s perfect for your kitchen.

“Whatever your experience of Blackpool, the Painting the Town range enables you to reconnect with it, and reconnect with the town and its community.”