Sunderland Art Benches: A Community Effort to Refresh the City’s Streets

Spring is here, and with it comes a refreshing and colourful update for Sunderland’s art benches. Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) has joined forces with Sunderland City Council and The Art Room Sunderland to bring the community together in a unique and engaging project. This initiative, which first began 18 months ago, aims to refresh the 12 art benches scattered throughout the city with vibrant and creative designs.

The Art Room Sunderland is working closely with local community groups and residents of all ages to create eye-catching and distinctive artwork for each side of the benches. These designs not only add a splash of colour to the city’s streets but also serve as a platform for residents to showcase their artistic talents and foster a sense of unity in the community.

Get Involved and Support the Cause

Even if you are not directly involved in creating the artwork, you can still play a part in this community-driven project. Sunderland BID has launched a Crowdfunding campaign, which allows people to contribute as little as £2 to help bring the scheme to life. To support the campaign and give the benches a fresh, new look, please visit:

More Than Just a Bench

The art benches are more than just a place for people to sit and chat or watch the world go by – they also serve a greater purpose. According to Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, the benches have been a “real talking point” since their initial installation. The project provides an opportunity for children who might not otherwise have the chance to work in a team setting and express their creativity. Additionally, community-created installations have been found to limit anti-social behaviour and damage, as people appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into their creation.

A Lasting Trail for All to Enjoy

The aim of the art benches is to create a lasting trail throughout Sunderland’s city centre, encouraging both visitors and locals to explore the different locations where the benches are installed. Each bench is accompanied by a plant pot, which Lee Taylor, BID’s SR1 street ranger, and local volunteers and community groups will replant with beautiful spring and summer flowers.

Join the Effort

Sunderland BID hopes that residents will recognise the importance of these art benches as part of the city centre experience and support the latest project. By getting involved, either through artistic contributions or financial support, you can help create a more vibrant and engaging environment for all who live in or visit Sunderland.


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