Manchester residents welcomed back to the city by inspiring billboards

Micah Purnell – Jack Arts photograph

Vibrant rainbow billboards have started popping up all over Manchester – offering fresh hope and encouragement to readers as the city slowly gets back on its feet following the coronavirus outbreak.

The posters, featuring messages such as ‘community like never before’, ‘kindness at its proper level’, and ‘let’s make this love normal’, have been designed by Newton Heath artist Micah Purnell – an award-winning multi-disciplined creative.

Producing work from billboards to books, Purnell helps businesses and charities advertise in a way that aids wellbeing through open, honest and effective creative content.

This latest trio of powerful, feel-good statements have been designed to welcome people back to Manchester as the high street reopens, ensuring love continues to pulse through the city in the same way it has done all through lockdown.

Portrait of Micah Purnell, artist and designer

The billboards were inspired by the revival of community which has grown throughout quarantine; with neighbours applauding side-by-side on their doorsteps, helping one other with shopping, and checking in via video calls on a regular basis.

People have taken to social media to share their fulfilling experiences of working together to cope in a pandemic; and this is the kind of behaviour Purnell wants us to continue even when things are back to normal(ish).

“This pandemic has exposed that we can’t maintain current lifestyles,” said Purnell.

“If everything stops for just a few weeks, the effects are beyond comprehension. It has exposed to some, the need for family, to others the gift of community.”

Micah Purnell – Jack Arts photograph

Visible from Piccadilly Station to Ancoats, the billboards aren’t Purnell’s first contribution to the streets of Manchester – and they’re unlikely to be the last, either.

When BBC Radio Manchester interviewed the artist, Purnell hinted an installation may appear in St Ann’s square in the coming weeks – which is set to replicate this recurrent theme of belonging and finding the positives in a pandemic.

Keep your eyes peeled.

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