A youth club in Bristol has been saved by the sale of a Banksy artwork which sold today to a private collector for enough cash to float the institution for the next few years. Mobile Lovers, which was moved from a doorway outside the club to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery for safekeeping will now be handed over to a philanthropist who paid up to $650,000 for the stencil on plywood.
Dennis Stinchcombe, of Broad Plain Youth Club, said: “Mobile Lovers has been a fantastic gift to us, without it, the club would definitely have shut within the next 12 months or so.”The sale of the work has given us a cushion, to assist us in carrying on with our valuable work with the young people of Bristol.” Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said: “This has been a great addition to the volumes of Bristol Banksy stories – with a magnificent outcome for the Broad Plain Boys Club and Young Bristol.”
Mary McCarthy, of MM Contemporary Arts, who brokered the deal, told the BBC: “I won’t be revealing the buyer, but it’s a private individual, a philanthropist who was very keen on investing in young people’s institutions.”Having lived in and around Bristol herself for many years, she said she had seen for herself the good the boys’ club does.”I was able to find a buyer of significant value to be able to support them, not forever, but a little nest egg for a few years,” she said. “It’s a very generous gesture by Banksy, and it’s noteworthy that an artist risen from the street has given back so prominently to the street.”
“The young people of Broad Plain and Riverside youth projects are creating their own “Thanks Banksy” wall in partnership with Young Bristol Creative Team. It will be erected on the Broad Plain boundary fence facing the M32 into Bristol, acting both as a geographical pointer to the club, and as a visual thanks to Banksy himself;” Ms McCarthy added.
The work of art has been on public display at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from April 14 until today, August 26.