3D illusion art to be revealed in Bedford town centre on Bank Holiday weekend

A world-renowned illusion artist will be bringing his skills to Bedford with an eye-boggling and mind-bending piece of 3D art, based on a local urban myth, entitled The Vault.

The piece by Julian Beever will be revealed on Saturday 29 May at 11am and is a culmination of a wider national project working with local high streets.

Legend has it that there is hidden treasure – a bank vault – still buried underneath the site at the end of Bedford High Street. The 3D artwork will depict past Bedford high street workers and shoppers who used the bank in their daily life.

Funded by Historic England, and Bedford BID, plus supported by SEMLEP and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) programme is set to unlock the potential of Bedford high street.

The aim is to boost the post-pandemic economic, social and cultural recovery of the area by creating a programme of events to bring people back into the town centre.

Bedford Creative Arts (BCA), working in collaboration with Blank Walls, identified international artist Julian Beever as the ideal candidate to deliver the project.

The artwork will be on the piece of land at the end of Bedford High Street opposite Nando’s (photo: Google Maps)

Julian will create the extraordinary piece of 3D art, allowing the people of Bedford to take a virtual look underneath the riverside bank site and discover what lies beneath.

The bank provided support and expertise to the family businesses of Bedford. Through these relationships, its role became synonymous with that of caretaker of the town.

To be revealed over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (11am on Saturday 29 May), in line with current COVID restriction easing, the Vault Project will also have a digital offering, thanks to Bedford BID, where the public can delve deeper into the stories and characters that made the unique history of Bedford’s High Street.

BCA director, Elaine Midgley, said: “So many towns and cities have used beautiful street art like Julian’s to showcase and celebrate their unique identity.

“These artworks can give profile to shops, people and stories, and spark debate. This is such an unusual piece of street art for Bedford so we hope it will be a real talking point that could stimulate even more projects in the future that can showcase Bedford’s rich heritage and the many individuals that shaped it.”

The Bedford community are encouraged to share any stories of shopkeepers or local characters from the area to help build a rich collection of tales that will bring the high street to life and celebrate its relationship with local Bedfordians.

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