Graffiti artist-in-residence – St Albans Cathedral

11th August 2023

St Albans Cathedral has appointed a graffiti artist as its artist-in-residence this year linking the ancient graffiti marks carved into its walls with the present day.

Graffiti artist shines 21-century light on ancient graffiti marks in St Albans Cathedral in a unique residency.

It may seem like an odd match, but it is designed to link the past with the present, breathe new life into art in St Albans Cathedral, and attract diverse new audiences.

The Dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Jo Kelly-Moore said:

“In cathedrals throughout the ages, artists of every genre have, through their creative gifts, invited pilgrims, visitors and worshippers to reflect on life in our world through the lens of the divine.

“Graffiti is one of those genres and the ancient stones of St Albans Cathedral and Abbey Church tell that story.’

Graffiti artist-in-residence - St Albans Cathedral

Graffiti artist Ant Steel first caught the attention of the Cathedral when he painted a peregrine falcon in the Cathedral’s Orchard in June 2022 capturing the imagination of those taking part in the city’s St Alban Pilgrimage celebrations at that time.

This led to fresh new partnerships in the city for Ant, a Norwich-born artist who moved to St Albans after living and working in South Africa for almost 20 years.

Ant has been working with visitors, families, schools, volunteers and staff members including a series of dedicated workshops with targeted groups including Ukrainian refugees, asylum seekers as well as schools and families.

Back in April, over 100 attendees “dropped-in” to one of his special workshops which culminated with the picture of a black and white cherub surrounded by spontaneous colourful drawings and writings by the participants.

Ant said:

‘I wanted all the colour around it to come from the community.”

And this summer will see more workshop events (ticketed and free) including the Renaissance-themed and ‘Street Saints’ workshop series.

In November, Ant’s residency will culminate in an exhibition, the outcome of a collaborative community project that will also include his own paintings.

Watch this space!

Graffiti artist-in-residence - St Albans Cathedral

St Alban’s Artist in Residence project is part of an annual programme of events and exhibitions to reach new audiences and to encourage them to engage with the Cathedral in new and different ways including school and community workshops and study days where people of all ages and backgrounds can learn about the history of the Cathedral through the medium of graffiti art.