A community art scheme invites the people of Sunderland to participate in painting the town in various colors, including red.

The initiative features 12 art benches installed by Sunderland BID in partnership with Sunderland City Council and The Art Room Sunderland 18 months ago. Each bench side exhibits exclusive artwork designed by local residents.

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’s 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.”

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