Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:42 UK

Art students paint Plymouth white


The art students said they wanted people in the city to "form new perspectives"

Art students in Plymouth have sparked a debate about public art by painting a path of white lines across the city.

Jack Morris and Sue Austin, from Plymouth University, painted the temporary lines over the weekend using a bicycle and a motorised wheelchair.

Plymouth City Council has received complaints from locals unhappy about the paint which they do not see as art.

The council said it had agreed to the project, but the students failed to ask the proper department for permission.

A spokesman said: "City centre retailers were consulted and were supportive of the concept.

'Paint wheelchair'

"The university did not however secure the necessary highway permissions before starting on site.

"We have been advised that the lines have been painted using non-toxic, water-soluble chalk paint that wears off in days, or weeks at most."

The white lines in Plymouth city centre
One local said the paint "lowered the tone"

The painted lines link the Roland Levinsky Building and the Royal William Yard, the venues for the university's degree shows this year.

The students, who are part of a group of artists called the Freewheelers, said they wanted the project to encourage people to "form new perspectives".

Ms Austin said she painted a pattern of parallel lines with her "paint wheelchair" to show people the freedom it gave her.

"I wanted to change people's preconceptions about wheelchairs," she said.

But some local residents and businesses do not think of the lines as art.

Peter Adams, manager of the Duke of Cornwall hotel in the city, said they "lowered the tone" of the area.

"This was a reputable hotel and all of a sudden we've got graffiti on the pavement outside," he told the BBC.

David Coslett, dean of the Faculty of Arts at the university, said: "It's clear that the work has had an impact and we encourage all our students to be adventurous and ambitious in their projects.

"However, we apologise for any possible confusion and are working with the council to ensure that if the markings are causing any problems they are removed as soon as possible."

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