13 April 2023

PEOPLE ACROSS Sunderland can help paint the town red – and a whole host of other colours – by getting behind a community art scheme.

The city’s 12 art benches were first installed around 18 months ago, implemented by Sunderland BID in conjunction with Sunderland City Council along with The Art Room Sunderland, with each side showcasing a unique piece of artwork created by local people.

And now an appeal has been launched to help refresh the benches with brand new designs, which again will be created by The Art Room Sunderland, working with community groups and residents of all ages.

Anyone who isn’t directly involved in the artwork can still get involved by supporting the funding of the project via a Crowdfunding campaign, where people can pledge as little as £2 to help bring the scheme to fruition.

Anyone who wants to support can do so at https://www.spacehive.com/community-art-benches/#/idea

The aim of the benches is not only to brighten up the city centre but also to create a long-lasting trail where visitors and local people are encouraged to visit all the locations.

Each bench has its own plant pot, and Lee Taylor, the BID’s SR1 Street Ranger, will be working with local volunteers and community groups to replant them with spring and summer flowers.

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, hopes that people will get behind the scheme.

“Since the art benches were first installed, they have been a real talking point as well as a place for people to sit and have a chat or just watch the world go by,” she said.

“But they serve a much more far-reaching purpose as well. The project allows children who may not get the opportunity otherwise to work as part of a team and show their creativity.

“At the same time, we’ve discovered that any installations created by the community limit anti-social behaviour and damage, as people realise just how much work has gone into producing them.

“We really hope people will recognise what an important part of the city centre experience these benches have become and get behind the latest project.”