What was a rather grubby little alleyway in York is now a dazzling Instagram hotspot.

The alley between Boots and WHSmith on Coney Street has been transformed into a riot of colour thanks to a collaboration between York BID (Business Improvement District) and gallery The Art of Protest.


The idea follows the success of displays around Little Stonegate, which have become hotspots for photographs of two major pieces of street art on the rear of the Browns building.

The length of both sides of the passageway have been covered with a vibrant and bright artwork by internationally renowned artist, STATIC, with lighting installed to transform the ‘forgotten’ space into an attractive addition to the street.

Revitalise spaces

The work has a maritime theme
“Part of York BID’s purpose is to revitalise the kinds of spaces you find in the city centre that need a little TLC.

“Street art is a superb way of achieving that goal and will also help bring more people – especially younger audiences – down onto Coney Street,” said executive director of York BID, Andrew Lowson.

“We have worked with businesses and property owners to ensure that the aesthetic is culturally appropriate and tasteful for the location, and we’re confident that this will revitalise the area is a different, engaging way.

“There is also Police evidence to demonstrate how the right mix of vibrant artwork and lighting can deter anti-social behaviour.”

Maritime theme

The alleyway is currently used for deliveries in the early morning, but otherwise largely unused and often targeted with antisocial behaviour at the weekends.

The artwork brightens the space, using a mix of specially coloured emulsion and spray paint with a maritime theme featuring the sea and waves.

It has an ecological message to encourage mindfulness about single use plastics and over-fishing of our natural resources.

Artists Craig Evans and Tom Jackson spent three days to create the artwork. The project has been co-ordinated by The Art of Protest Project York, and sees the Scarborough-based artists back working in their home county, following exhibitions in Asia, the USA and London.

Jeff Clark, owner of Art of Protest Gallery said:

  • I have always enjoyed working with Craig and Tom, and when the chance to paint a major piece came up in York, I thought they would be the perfect fit.

    Urban art is helping break down barriers all over the world, and having worked on them in so many cities, I am really excited and proud to bring it to York.

The initiative forms part of a wider plan from Jeff Clark under the Art of Protest Projects scheme, which puts up pieces of public art.

Having worked for over a decade curating and delivering public art in places like New York’s High Line public park, Bali and across the UK, the Coney Street piece is part of a series of large scale artworks that Jeff wants to deliver across the city.

The ultimate ambition is for a biannual urban arts festival along the Foss and in other underdeveloped parts of the city.