A disused office block in the centre of York has been transformed into a street art exhibition.

Artists have transformed four floors of the building in Low Ousegate, covering it with art by some of the scenes most well-known artists.

York street art group Bombsquad, who are a non-profit organisation, is behind the free exhibition – named Rise of the Vandals – which is raising money for youth homelessness charity SASH.

The group staged a similar exhibition last year and, this year, have taken the project further – adding another two floors of artwork.

Educated Vandals has turned four floors of the disused office block in Low OusegateEducated Vandals has turned four floors of the disused office block in Low Ousegate (Image: Dylan Connell)

Hundreds of people visited the opening weekend (June 22-23), a Bombsquad spokesperson told The Press, adding: “Everyone’s been fantastic. It just shows that the community – when you pull something together – really want to make a difference.”

Artwork is for sale, with proceeds to go to SASH. And QR codes are displayed around the building where people can donate to the charity.

Bombsquad finances the display with the help of sponsors: Mack and Lawler Ltd, the Falcon pub, York Digital Image and Travis Perkins.

Artist Sharon McDonagh with a work by James Jessop at the exhibitionArtist Sharon McDonagh with a work by James Jessop at the exhibition (Image: Dylan Connell)

The exhibition has previously faced criticism, the spokesperson admitted, with people unaware of its purpose.

But, they said, its success – last year raising almost £12,000 for YorkMind – has made it something the community can be proud of.

“The sad thing is a lot of people say it’s just us defacing a building, but don’t come to the event,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s taken us six months to pull this together.

“It’s a major thing that we’re doing, and it supports the community.

“For me, it’s priceless.”

Work by Keith Hopewell at Educated VandalsWork by Keith Hopewell at Rise of the Vandals 

'For the people who have come, it’s blown their minds'

The four floors tell a story through retrospective street art from the 1980s to today.

“It’s a disused office block that we’ve turned into one of the biggest street art events outside of London,” the spokesperson said. “People don’t expect this to happen in York.

“For the people who have come, it’s blown their minds.”

Giant canvas by James Jessop of bright coloured figures – including monsters, elegant women and horror film characters – are the first thing that meet guests.

Work by James Jessop on display at Educated Vandals in YorkWork by James Jessop on display at Rise of the Vandals in York (Image: Dylan Connell)

The spokesperson said having work by James Jessop in York was a rarity.

“We’re really lucky to have his back catalogue here,” they added.

The stairs between the floors – and even toilets – have been covered with street art for the exhibition.

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Framed portraits of pigeons have been painted on the stairs – a homage to the buildings previous occupiers, like you would find a grand stately home, the Bombsquad spokesperson explained.

One floor has even had a makeshift café installed.

Inside artist Jo Peel's makeshift café at the exhibition Inside artist Jo Peel's makeshift café at the exhibition (Image: Dylan Connell)

Artist Jo Peel turned an area of the floor into a greasy spoon but there’s no food to be served – everything inside is made from paper.

A floor has also been dedicated to York street artist and archivist Keith Hopewell.

His photographs of the 1980s graffiti scene are on display for the first time, fitting as young graffiti artists used to meet under the disused office block at the time.

  • Rise of the Vandals is open 11am to 6pm from Friday (June 28) to Sunday and the following week from Friday (July 5) to Sunday.