PUPILS from the John Frost School in Duffryn have been helping Newport-based Artist Andy O’Rourke transform an underpass on a major cycle route.

This project is part of the National Lottery Heritage funded Living Levels programme for the Gwent Levels.

The dazzling mural artwork by Andy has transformed the Maesglas underpass into a flock of hundreds of brightly painted starlings, flying through sunset clouds and clear blue skies.

It aims to introduce the many local walkers and cyclists who use the route to a wildlife phenomenon they can witness at Newport Wetlands on the route. 

South Wales Argus: The finished underpass - not one wall left untouched!The finished underpass - not one wall left untouched!

Mr O’Rourke of Malarky Arts said: "I wanted the mural to give the impression of being part of a starling murmuration as you go through the underpass.

"This occurs when tens of thousands flock together, wheeling and darting through the sky in tight, fluid formations It’s an incredible phenomenon that I have seen many times at the Newport Wetlands.

"Starlings themselves are beautiful birds, sleek and stylish with a magical iridescent sheen to their feathers.”

The GCSE Fine Arts students worked with Andy learning new skills and  techniques and contributing to the final piece at the underpass which links Duffryn with Maesglas.

Head of Art at the John Frost School Jo Lockwood said: “A big thank you to Living Levels and Artist Andy O'Rourke for enabling our students to work on the mural.”

South Wales Argus: The artists hard at workThe artists hard at work

Layla Powell, Carys Gapper, Natalie Vaughan and Rebecca Arthur were chosen to attend the visit as they had worked extremely well in Art this year.


Natalie Vaughan said: “ I enjoyed taking part in this unique opportunity to experiment with a new media and to work on such an important mural."

Carys Gapper added: “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Mr O'Rourke and I am honoured to have been chosen by my Art Teacher Miss Lockwood for this amazing opportunity”.

Mr O'Rourke continued: “The public response to the mural has been great.

"Loads of people have been loving seeing the artwork develop each day and pass positive comments and encouragement or stop to have a chat. It has been a really nice experience."

Cllr Roger Jeavons, Newport City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for city services as well as a member of the Living Levels Board, said: “I would like to congratulate all those involved in this fantastic project.

"It has transformed the underpass into a magical world that can be enjoyed by all those who travel through it.”

The mural is part of the Living Levels Landscape Partnership’s ‘Big Skies Community Arts’ project which is delivered in partnership with Tin Shed Theatre Co.