City of Bristol College was delighted to welcome ex-student Michele Curtis back to the College to launch her exciting new social enterprise that aims to keep history alive in St Pauls, Bristol.
The Lord Lieutenant of Bristol Peaches Golding OBE and the Jamaican High Commissioner were amongst guests who attended the launch of Michele’s new venture, The Seven Saints of St Pauls® Art and Heritage Trail and app.
Michele, an inspirational artist, started off painting portraits of The Seven Saints of St Pauls® four years ago to celebrate the life of St Paul’s most important figures.
The Seven Saints were the founders of the St Paul’s Carnival in 1968 and also some of the community leaders in the area that fought to break down barriers and campaigned for racial equality.
This project sparked Michele’s entrepreneurial streak and she felt she wanted to do more by creating murals and developing a heritage trail and app that will help people learn more about the figures featured and fill in the gaps in what has always been a largely untold modern history of the Windrush generation’s early years in Britain.
The launch of The Seven Saints of St Pauls® Art and Heritage Trail at the College’s Ashley Down Centre was a joyous occasion supported by the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol Peaches Golding OBE, the Jamaican High Commissioner, Roy Hackett and Barbara Dettering; two of The Seven Saints of St Pauls®, local businesses, the community of St Pauls and Michele’s friends and family.
Michele said: “City of Bristol College has been a source of encouragement and support since I started in 2014 and first thought of The Seven Saints of St Pauls® and Iconic Black Britons concept.”
Peaches Golding OBE, the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol commented: “Michele Curtis created an innovative approach to telling the stories of seven Bristolians of the Windrush generation who helped promote the rich culture of the Caribbean in our City. Not only is Michele a skilled artist capable of producing large scale, accurate portraits, she is also an inspirational leader. The digital cultural heritage trail she has developed will greatly benefit local businesses, create jobs and encourage tourism in St Pauls.”
Richard Harris, City of Bristol College’s Acting Principal & Chief Executive opened the event. He said: “We are extremely proud of all that Michele has achieved and are delighted to have supported her throughout her journey. Iconic Black Britons is a local organisation created to share and protect the history and contribution of black people in Bristol and beyond which we fully support, and the Seven Saints of St Pauls Art and Heritage Trail is a fantastic way of celebrating the importance of our elders in our local history and our communities. This event demonstrates how individuals, such as Michele, can make a difference and she has inspired us with a hope of creating an even more inclusive and engaged society. Well done Michele!”