• The collaborating artists - work in progress
  • The finished artwork 
  • Celebrating with the Mural team -image of young people, artists Steve and Chloe and Louise and Coco in front of the mural at Buzz Coffee Celebrating working together

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

Art, entrepreneurship and building confidence for life are integral to a hopeful future. Working with Meraki Arts School and Sidmouth-based Buzz Coffee, we are developing an innovative joyful collaboration to empower young people aged 13 to 16, to create a new art work as part of a creative and employment skills project.  Their artwork will also be exhibited on Sidmouth Wallspace.

The story of the creation of the mural

Artists Chloe Farrant and Steve McCracken led a series of creative workshops for young people at Buzz Coffee, located at the Alexandria Estate Business Park, Sidmouth.  We had an amazing time with a wonderful group, who worked really hard on their own paste ups which then came together in a beautiful new mural for the cafe and coffee roasting hub.  

The process was a journey...

Starting with Lameze's story as an entrepreneur realising her ambition to start an ethical local business bringing her passion for coffee together with her dream to create a warm and welcoming space and the creativity in every decision along the way.  Key to the dream was to create a place where people meet each other, connect and chat and share their stories, ups and downs - a wellbeing space.  

Sharing her thoughts and feelings about her experience, emotions and ebbs and flows of confidence was a wonderful way to start, empowering everyone with valuable reminders to have a go, not worry that you don't always know how things will turn out or even quite where you will end up with an idea and to stick with things even though your confidence is sometimes low.

Coffee culture and legends...

We talked about the history of coffee, and the Ethiopian legend of the goat herder Kaldi who discovered coffee circa 800 AD after he noticed that after eating the berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night.  As word spread, the journey of the coffee bean continued across the globe.  

You can see the goat represented in the artwork along with coffee cups, a coffee grower, latte art, the leaves and berries of the plant that coffee beans come from as well as some of the coffee paraphernalia that surrounds coffee drinking and the rituals around it; cups and pots and the natural elements needed to grow coffee - the sun and the rain, which also represent the journey we are often on when striving to reach our goals.

Making the artwork...

We started with a huge blank wall, Steve and Chloe used a colour palette based on colours in the cafe and coffee roasterie to create a bright and welcoming back drop.  We used the cafe and all the objects and interesting shapes to spark ideas for what each person wanted to paint using a paste up technique.  

The design and bringing together all of the individual pieces was a beautiful process of trialling, colour matching and creating the story of both coffee and the meaning of the place, bringing everyone's artwork together in a truly collaborative new artwork.

Real world skills...

Everyone had a go at coffee making, trained in barista skills as well as learning new art techniques, building confidence and skills and belief in yourself.  We made many connections between the skills of an entrepreneur and those of an artist from marketing and maths to history and geography - we noted that sometimes these subjects don't connect with everyone until in a real life setting.

With the artwork on permanent display at Buff Coffee cafe, it will be seen by lots of people and once displayed on the public gallery Sidmouth Wallspace will have an even bigger audience.  The chance to exhibit the work values the hard work and commitment every young person demonstrated and generates pride and self belief.

The photos tell the story of confidence, collaboration and the joy of creating something together.

I enjoyed it because I can extend my artistic skills I really like the opportunity to come to the roasterie I like learning how to make paste ups and I might try to make them again at home
What the young people involved said...
Young people busy painting at the workshop led by Chloe and Steve Wake Up and Smell the Coffee art workshops

Chloe Farrant


Chloe is a passionate practitioner who is experienced in using a range of mediums. She specialises in clay and porcelain sculpture and explores new concepts, around the themes of memory and time with her mixed media work. Chloe is an educator, having worked in education for many years she has seen the power art can have on young people.

Steve McCracken


Steve McCracken is the incredible artist behind the brightly coloured birds that can be found through the streets of Exeter aka None Here. He shows how art can be used positively to brighten people’s days and create a magical world for children.

Sidmouth School of Art are part of the ecosystem.  Graphic from the Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference March 2023

Norman Family Charitable Trust

We are grateful for their support for this project.