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Triodos Foundation and college art students collaborate on impactful mural project

Earlier this year, a collaborative partnership between Triodos Foundation and żapp art students continued in style.  
 
The mission of Triodos Foundation is to initiate positive change locally in communities in Bristol and the surrounding area. They execute this by offering grants to projects and charities that are like-minded and uphold the same ethos as Triodos Bank. 

Triodos Foundation approached the college enquiring if students would like to work with them on a project to design a mural in their event space. There were four potential areas of the Foundation Space that the students could choose from; around the windows in the space, a wall, some pillars or the outside garden space.

The live creative brief commenced last September when our students met with Triodos in the event space where they discovered more about the bank and their ethos, the type of people that use the event space and benefit from the charitable work that they do.

The students got to work, creating three different design ideas. They proceeded through a couple of heats including initially pitching their ideas to two members of staff from the bank.

They received feedback on their ideas and utilised this insight to inform their final designs; something that they then presented in the event space itself as Triodos Bank employees voted on the artwork that they would like to see take shape in the space.

The event saw students not only present their final designs but also gave them the opportunity to display their sketchbooks, mapping out their entire creative processes as well as bringing these concepts to life and talking these ideas through with Triodos Bank staff.

Stefan Hargrave, Chair of Trustees at Triodos Foundation was in attendance at the art showing.

Talking of the foundation, he commented: “It’s a charity which is separate from the bank but is still linked to the bank. We are a relatively small charity who are trying to create impact in the local area through the use of grants but also through things like this, trying to interact with the local community.

“From an impact perspective, there’s the grant side of things but there’s also the side of giving our time to students.”

Talking of the experience of working with students, he continued: “The ten of us who came down loved it! We came and met the students, and they presented three different ideas for feedback, we talked through their ideas, gave some feedback and coming back around now and seeing some of the students that I met and what they’ve done with the brief is just unbelievable, brilliant!

“All of the coworkers of the bank have come down today into the foundation, they’re all voting and giving feedback and then we’ll pick somebody’s idea to give a small grant, the materials etc and then they’ll build their idea, it will be on display for the year and hopefully this becomes a longstanding partnership.” 

Appreciating the students’ work, Stefan added: “The ideas are amazing, I would never have created half of these ideas but they’re brilliant and what I like is that they’ve really thought about the mission of the charity and of the bank but also the coworkers who have come down today are asking more questions and are challenging and reacting to them.  
 
“From my side, it’s a win-win, we’re getting people from the bank really engaging with the work that’s happening and we’re helping the students with their artwork etc but also the creativity and the work they’ve done is off the scale.” 
 
Talking of their work, Jeremy, a Level 3 art student commented: “We’ve recently been working on a big project with Triodos Bank to create a piece of art for their foundation space, which is a charity.  

“My idea has been a mural of Mother Nature. The idea is essentially that Mother Nature looks after the earth, she is the embodiment of the earth and I think that with climate change, she’s kind of losing that power, hence why she is frail because she is weak and she’s gone from the mother to the child which is why I’ve depicted her in the foetus position. My art shows that we need to look after her and build her up.

“My mural is also multicoloured to represent lots of different cultures and that climate change is impacting everyone but also how everyone can help relieve the stress of climate change.  

“I’ve also made sure to put in how much I think my labour would cost as well, I think that’s really important because a lot of young artists think that they have to do things for free, so I think it’s really important to put yourself out there and show that your labour is worth money.”  

Another student, Megan, spoke about how she changed the practical aspects of her 3D installation piece according to the brief. Talking of the opportunity to get involved, she then said: “It has been hard work and a bit of a challenge but overall, it’s been really, really good!  

“It would feel really nice if they chose my design, I think I would be quite proud.”

Isaac was another student who showcased his creative process in detail through a multitude of sketchbooks full to the brim with sketches and concepts.  
 
He said: “I tried to embrace my signature style whilst also tying it in with the general themes of sustainability and being eco-friendly but in a fun way, making my designs into characters for example to make it feel less corporate.  

“It’s been a bit of hard work, but I’ve started to get the hang of it, but it’s like that with any project; I definitely enjoyed it! I would feel great if they chose my project, I would definitely be down for that!”  

Another student, Ren, was talking through her idea and stated: “This is actually my original idea, I then went on to create another two ideas, but they really liked my first idea as I put a lot of effort into it.”

She also spent time contemplating and considering the types of materials that she used for her project.

She continued: “This is re-used wallpaper and newspaper which I ripped it up and because they [Triodos Foundation] give a lot of support to Avon Wildlife, my idea is largely based around that.”  
 
It was certainly wonderful to witness the synergy unfold between the students and Triodos Foundation and we extend our thanks to the foundation for giving our students the platform to showcase their incredible creative talents.  

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