A new art trail around Monifieth, designed by young people and created by artist Suzanne Scott, is attracting explorers from far and wide. Gayle checks it out.
Snow-capped mountains, crooked cottages, walking fish and a “sugar skull” are among the striking creations waiting to be discovered along the new Monifieth Art Trail.
Designed by young people, the hope is that 8.5km loop will encourage people to explore the Angus town’s hidden gems.
Accessible for all ages and abilities, the trail takes you along the beachfront, past the Blue Seaway park, through a wild meadow, past the high school and the imposing Seven Arches viaduct, along a cycling and walking network path and via various other landmarks.
Along the way, you’ll find eight stunning, bright and colourful art boards with different “world continent” themes, ranging from South America to Oceania and Europe.
Each design has a “hidden” stag’s head – Monifieth High School’s emblem – and trying to find them all is very reminiscent of the Where’s Wally puzzle books!
The trail is the brainchild of Monifieth Youth Steering Group (MYSG), and while the prototype designs were created by children and young people, Dundee-based artist Suzanne Scott, aka WhimSicAL LusH, redrew them in her own unique style.
The result is a series of eye-catching murals that have been injecting joy and life into the town since the project launched at the end of July.
A few weeks after it had bedded in, I met up with Suzanne and two members of MYSG who had worked on designs for a stroll round a section of the trail.
First up was the World board, which takes pride of place outside Monifieth High School.
All designs for this cracker were created by MYSG, and some are pretty unusual, including a “walking fish” from Mexico, a fox found in the Sahara Desert, a sugar maple tree from Canada and Baba Yaga’s house – a creepy-looking hut standing on chicken legs.
“It was our idea to create an art trail in the town and seeing the final result is just amazing!” said 17-year-old Lesley Rogers.
“I drew some landmarks, and it’s brilliant to see Suzanne’s interpretation of them.”
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Morgan McLaren designed some sea creatures.
“It’s been a fun project to be involved in while creating something good for the community,” she said.
A short walk through woodland took us to the Seven Arches viaduct, where we discovered the South America art board.
All designs for this mural were created by Grange Primary pupils and include images of the Easter Island and Christ the Redeemer statues, the Andes Mountains, llamas, pink flamingos and a sloth.
“Can you see the stag’s head?” Suzanne asked me. It took a while, and I had to squint a bit, but when I found it, I whooped with joy.
Next up was the North America board on West Grange Road.
Birkhill Primary School children created the designs for this one, and they include images of the Mayan ruins of Mexico, the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, a “sugar skull” (one of the most iconic objects used to celebrate the Day of the Dead festival), a moose and a snapping turtle.
“I can’t believe we managed to create an art trail involving hundreds of children and young people during a pandemic,” said Suzanne.
“The drawings they produced from their research were brilliant and gave me the material I needed to develop the designs. Their creativity, imagination and determination has been inspiring.
“I tried to stay as true to the young people’s original drawings as possible – to capture the essence.
“And while we only launched a few weeks ago, I’m stoked to see people are getting out and doing the trail.”
Hundreds of primary pupils took part in the project, which was supported by the Angus Council Communities Team and staff at Monifieth High School.
The route was meticulously planned by MYSG to highlight areas of interest and incorporate aspects of the walking and cycling network path.
“MYSG worked hard to ensure the trail would be in place this summer for young people, families, community and visitors,” said Angus Communities Officer Sylvia Breen.
“Meetings with MYSG, Monifieth High School staff and the Communities Team in Angus Council took place online and face-to-face to develop the trail and recruit Suzanne.
“MYSG contacted the seven cluster primary schools and invited pupils in primary five to seven to draw or design images based on world continents.
“The children researched people, landmarks, animals and places, while MYSG created designs for a world board. The children’s drawings and designs were brilliant, depicting so many images from around the world and encouraging learning for all.
“MYSG were keen to have a ‘Where’s Wally’ theme, to keep people engaged in the art trail as they find the hidden stag head and by providing interesting facts while making it fun and interactive.
“Suzanne created colourful, imaginative and informative pieces of art that the children and young people can be proud of.”
- Monifieth Art Trail will be in place for six months, and people are encouraged to share their experiences of exploring it on Twitter and Facebook by using #MonifiethArtTrail.
- Find out more about the trail at visitangus.com/monifietharttrail/
- The project was funded by the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund, with an overall cost of £11,500.