Urban art brightens children’s trip to school

Local artist Frank Styles with members of the West Area Committee, Cllr Michael Essl (Barnes), Chair Cllr Peter Gibson, Cllr Rebecca Atkinson (Barnes),Cllr Ian Galbraith (Barnes) and children from Richard Avenue Primary School at the unveiling of the community arts project decorating the subway
Local artist Frank Styles with members of the West Area Committee, Cllr Michael Essl (Barnes), Chair Cllr Peter Gibson, Cllr Rebecca Atkinson (Barnes),Cllr Ian Galbraith (Barnes) and children from Richard Avenue Primary School at the unveiling of the community arts project decorating the subway
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Youngsters at a city primary school are having a colourful walk to school, thanks to urban art.

The children at Richard Avenue Primary School who use the underpass near their primary are thrilled with the way it has been transformed into a gateway to nature.

In response to people’s concerns about being uneasy walking through the subway under the Barnes Roundabout, behind Hipsburn Drive, Sunderland City Council’s West Area Committee funded a community arts project which has seen the walls and entrance painted with murals based on local flora and fauna.

Artist Frank Styles was commissioned to carry out the work which was recently completed and the children at Richard Avenue Primary School are enjoying the new-look walk to work.

They are so impressed with the artwork, the pupils have agreed to get involved with keeping the artwork looking its best.

Youngsters plan to carry out regular litter picks and clean ups to keep the subway clean.

Art designs are based on the nature and local wildlife found around the area, especially Barnes Park, with moorhens, rabbits and even a deer featured in the mural.

Richard Avenue Primary School children joined Frank, along with councillors, Peter Gibson, Rebecca Atkinson, Michael Essl and Ian Galbraith, at the official opening of the subway artwork.

Frank, who lives in nearby Grangetown, said: “My previous work on such a large scale was on the side of the Shipwrights pub in North Hylton but this mural uses a lot more colour, and uses my experience painting photo-realistic images like those of the butterflies on High Street East to good effect.

“The work has been fun even working outside in December and January when I’ve generally been doing six hour days before my fingers froze up, but it’s been well worth it and I hope everyone likes it.

“Public response has been overwhelmingly in favour of the murals, with people from all walks of life telling me how much they like the designs and paintings.”

Chairman of the West Area Committee People Board, Counc Atkinson said: “What has been created looks fantastic and we hope that everyone likes the transformation and helps us to protect it for everyone to enjoy.”

The work was completed over six weeks using 142 cans of different coloured spray paint.