THE FIRST ever Stroud Paint Festival transformed the town with a colourful array of murals and street art on Sunday. 

Local artists, visitors, and residents alike have expressed enthusiasm for the event, which has brought new life to various privately-owned spaces around Stroud.

Eleanor Harper, a local sign writer, shared her excitement: "The diversity of styles is great.

"As local artists, it's so satisfying to see everyone carving out their own artistic corner. I asked Lee Kirby, the organiser, if I could be involved, as sign writers don't often get the chance to work on this scale.

"I'm helped by two other local artists, Leigh Charman and Hope Hanni Eva at Stroud Vision Centre.

(Image: Stroud Town Council) "We hope the freshly painted artwork makes the place look loved and safer, and will reduce tagging in the space."

Oli Jones of Bayley's Paints, a sponsor of the event, expressed his enthusiasm: "We're thrilled to have played a small part and are keen to collaborate with the organisers on future events.

"We hope that having notable art will reduce damage and spruce up unloved parts of the town."

The festival attracted artists from beyond Stroud, including Fink 22, a visiting artist from Dubai and former Wycliffe PE teacher.

Now a full-time graffiti artist, Think 22 worked on a space near Travis Perkins and expressed his pleasure at being part of the Street Art Scene in the South-West, noting how exciting it was to see live painting happening in Stroud.

(Image: Stroud Town Council) The event also sparked conversations among locals.

Ben Jones, 27, from Nailsworth, commented that he was pleased to see the art "brighten up the tunnel" and that it provided "an opportunity to share ideas and have fun."

David Sand, 72, a watercolourist, was impressed with the scale of the pieces, noting that he rarely worked at such large dimensions himself.

Lee Kirby, one of the organisers, highlighted the positive atmosphere among the artists: "One of the artists working at the Market Tavern Boards, known as @soar_nts, was typical of the attitude of those involved - making great large-scale pieces, talking respectfully to passersby and jamming nicely with his fellow artists."

Kirby was delighted with the range of work produced and praised the artists for working around the wet weather. He also thanked the volunteers provided by The Subscription Rooms, who acted as marshalls and support.

As the sun came out later in the evening, there was a great atmosphere, with Town Council officers noting many families using maps to trail around the works and linger in town.

Social media comments have shown how impressed the public have been with the calibre of the artists involved, with Andy Council and Lee Kirby's work receiving a particularly warm reception online.

The organisers found themselves overwhelmed with interest, unable to accommodate all the artists who wanted to participate, reflecting the growing popularity of the street art scene across the region.

Importantly, the organisers are keen to show a distinction between their work and disrespectful or poorly executed tagging.

The festival's success has sparked hope for it to become an annual event.

With sponsorship from Bayley's Paints and more businesses sharing their sites with artists, it's anticipated that the town will benefit from the placemaking qualities of street art.

Getting on the map in this way has enhanced many other towns, and organisers hope the public will enjoy how the works reflect a full range of talents.

The Town Council offices have maps available showing the location of each mural, and the public are welcome to pick them up. As one organiser noted, "There's a style for everyone."