Bushmills, Northern Ireland, is long on whiskey history but short on economic growth. So it's turned to storefront art to give its prominent but neglected buildings a much needed jolt.
The town of 1,319 is most famous for hosting the oldest licensed distillery in the world (Old Bushmills Distillery). But in recent years it's started to gain a reputation among tourists for posters that depict lively shops and happy people where there are neither. And while the "Brighter Bushmills Project" may seem like an attempt to hide the city's current state of decline, the town's director of environmental services says the strategy has worked, telling Reuters that two storefronts from the project are no longer vacant.
The concept is not unique to Bushmills. In Lyon, France, artists re-imagined blank walls as scenes of idealized urban life in the 1980s. Closer to home, the Northern Ireland government spent $3 million to disguise neglected buildings near the golf resort where G8 leaders met last summer.
Bushmill's storefront project has been mostly funded by locals, who raised over $45,000. A second phase, this time with partial funding from the government, was completed last March.
Below, via Reuters, a look at some of Bushmills's fake, but happier storefronts: