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The Wakeman School and Arts College 'Look Up' trail (17th January 2014)

The 'Look Up' project will be a Trail of high quality ceramic installations inspired by Shrewsbury\'s wonderful architecture, encouraging visitors and residents, young and old to focus on, recognise and appreciate our town heritage.

The Art Work is ready – thousands of low relief, ceramic tiles of windows, doorways and door knockers from across the town created by generations of Wakeman Students. The tiles are being ‘custom’ made into indoor or outdoor display panels and installed in agreed locations for all to enjoy. Panels will enhance areas needing improvement and provide a new focus for exploring the town.

We hope that this project will provide enhancement and interest for less prominent locations in the town centre, encouraging more people to visit and explore the town. Such is the quality of the ceramic art we intend to use, that displays have been requested for exhibitions across the county and indeed the country, including ‘The Sanctuary Building’ in Westminster, Birmingham and Manchester Art Galleries and many more. It would seem fitting that young people’s work of this quality is appreciated and celebrated in the town which provided the inspiration and in which it was produced.  The work belongs to the town!

Heritage trails already in place across the town celebrate a variety of high profile events, historical and topical. This trail focuses down on the detail of the architecture of certainly some of the high profile but also the less prominent buildings, featuring windows and doorways from across the town that are not immediately noticed.  It will be of particular interest to families and children, residents and visitors, who will enjoy the ‘mystery’ of finding out what had inspired each young artist. It will be ‘personal’ to the thousands of former Wakeman students in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, now with families of their own, who will be intrigued to find out where their art work can be found. Many, who have since moved to other areas, will be reminded of the rich heritage of Shrewsbury and will be encouraged to spend time revisiting the town and enjoying its amenities. Those who have stayed in the local area will have a new reason to visit and it will draw the attention of new generations to the delights of exploring the town.

As Mike Griffiths Director of Arts at The Wakeman said, ‘Coming to Shrewsbury from Salford for my interview at the Wakeman 30 years ago and walking through the town from the station, I realised what a beautiful town it was, with such a variety of architectural styles. Talking to pupils in my first lesson, I asked what they had seen on their way to school and the answer I got was ‘nothing’. They, like most of us, fail to appreciate our surroundings.  Teaching thousands of children to ‘look up’, I hope I have made many more aware of the delights of the towns buildings and features. I believe this project will encourage future generations to ‘look up’ and recognise what the town has to offer.’

Panels are being created and installed by ‘Benchart’ (Ruth Gibson and Huw Powell Roberts, professional public art experts). Panel frames have been made by John Hale
Individual frames have been made by Kingswood Frames

The project is being funded by contributions from:

The Wakeman School and Arts College Parents Association
Shropshire Council
Shrewsbury Town Council 

Thanks also to Topps Tiles and Hardie Backer for the donation of materials

For further information please contact Mike Griffiths at The Wakeman School and Arts College ( or on 01743 365771

Or visit