Sculptures take over Sunderland school yard

Artist-in-residence at Farringdon Community Sports College, Mike Clay, alongside the outdoor sculpture he is working on which, when completed, will also be somewhere where pupils can sit during breaktimes.

Artist-in-residence at Farringdon Community Sports College, Mike Clay, alongside the outdoor sculpture he is working on which, when completed, will also be somewhere where pupils can sit during breaktimes.

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A WEARSIDE sculptor is putting the finishing touches to a new artwork that will be completed by creative school children.

As part of the Love Your Yard project, new concrete sculptures are being created in the grounds of Farringdon Community Sports College.

Artist-in-residence at Farringdon Community Sports College, Mike Clay, alongside the outdoor sculpture he is working on which, when completed, will also be somewhere where pupils can sit during breaktimes.

Artist-in-residence at Farringdon Community Sports College, Mike Clay, alongside the outdoor sculpture he is working on which, when completed, will also be somewhere where pupils can sit during breaktimes.

The first bench will soon be painted white so Native American imagery can then be incorporated into the design by pupils.

It is expected to be the first of five benches to be used in the school, with pupils set to be involved in design work for the new benches.

Artist Mike Clay, who has lived in Sunderland for the past 30 years after studying in the city, is been putting the piece together.

The 52-year-old, of Hendon, said: “This is a real community thing and we hope the 
pupils, teachers, parents, carers and governors will all get involved.

“Hopefully each child at the school will have something to do and they’ll all be represented in this.”

Weighing 15 tonnes and stretching over 20ft, it should provide an area for youngsters to sit during their breaks from lessons.

Soon the school’s 800 pupils will be able to enjoy the new feature.

“You can’t really miss it when you come into the yard,” Mike said.

“We really want to integrate this into the school and I think there will be opportunities to do other things in the yard apart from the benches.”

West Sussex-raised Mike, who has worked in schools across Sunderland and the rest of North East, said he draws on experiences of Wearside life.

His pieces also populate shopping centres, factories and transport systems.

He has even had his work exhibited in Belgium, Germany and Bulgaria, as well as across the UK.

“I’ve always done lots of drawing, but I’ve only been painting people for about 10 or 11 years,” said Mike, who is married to Stephanie, 52.

“If I walk out near where I live or to the beach, you see some interesting people.

“They probably don’t know they’re featured in my work.”

Pupils will be working on the sculpture when they return for the new school turn next month.

It is expected to be finished completely by the end of September.

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