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Tunnels of love: art by the community for the community

RESIDENTS and schoolchildren in Newton Abbot have been praised for the key role they played in transforming the town’s unwelcoming subways.

Four vandalised underpasses at Penn Inn have been given an artistic makeover with much of the creativity coming from those who use the site every day, an important pedestrian and cycle link which avoids the busy A380 road above.

Colourful ceramics, professional graffiti, fairground mirrors and photos are complemented by uplifting poems and prose, centred on the themes of air, water, fire and earth.

The Tunnels of Love project has been more than three years in the making, led by Newton Abbot Community Interest Company (CIC) and supported by The Arts Council England, Teignbridge District Council and Newton Abbot Town Council.

Project artist Kate Green told a gathering of invited guests at the unveiling on July 25 that the impressive results, already winning huge support on social media, had come about because of the community’s involvement. ‘It was more than three years ago, before Covid, that I was asked by the CIC and Cllr Jackie Hook if I could do something to brighten up the subways and I said, yes I will, but on one condition, it needs to be artwork made by local people and which is uplifting and means something. Everything here has been made by children from local schools and people from local groups. The subways also feature photographs of pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists passing through Penn Inn’.

Two other locations in the town are set to benefit from similar makeovers later this year.

For more information or additional comment from key stakeholders please email Emily Farrell via [email protected] or call 07501889100

Below is a selection of images from the tunnels.