Concrete sea wall at Sunderland becomes beachfront whale and pirate ship

Artists and schoolkids revamped Roker seaside play area, in Sunderland, with whale design

 

A whale of a time was had by community artists and schoolchildren in transforming the setting of a seaside playground.

The play area, at Marine Walk on the Roker seafront in Sunderland, is sheltered by a curving concrete wall built some years ago.

As part of a wider regeneration programme of the Roker and Seaburn seafront, Sunderland City Council invited artists to come up with ideas for the wall to complete the revamp of the play space.

Community artist and modern muralist Andy Morley worked with pupils from St Benet’s RC Primary School in Roker on ideas for the location.

The youngsters thought that the shape of the wall looked like a whale and drew up designs,

Andy, who runs arts project company Creative Ginger based at the Beacon centre in Westgate Road in Newcastle, worked for 10 days with fellow artists Barry McNab from North Shields and John Dyer, of Shiremoor in North Tyneside.

The newly refurbished play area on Marine Walk, Roker, Sunderland with a new mural designed by Year 5 children from St Benet's RC Primary School in Monkwearmouth
The newly refurbished play area on Marine Walk, Roker, Sunderland with a new mural designed by Year 5 children from St Benet's RC Primary School in Monkwearmouth
 

Using paint spray cans, they created the image of a whale on the outside surface of the wall and inside the curve pictures of a pirate shop and crew which it had swallowed.

Andy who carries out commissions for murals across the region and also specific designs for people’s bedrooms, said of the Roker project: “It has turned out to be absolutely amazing and the kids love it.

“It was great fun working with the pupils from St Benet’s and getting their ideas for the mural and then translating their drawings and ideas into the finished artwork. “

The mural is one of the finishing touches to the council’s £50,000 makeover for the play area.

Council cabinet secretary Mel Speding said: “The play area is a bit of a local landmark and it’s one of the things that people were particularly keen that we should retain when we asked them what improvements they would like to see to the seafront.

“Lots of people told us they had fond memories of playing there during family trips to the seaside when they were kids.

“The kids from St Benet’s have done a fantastic job working and they should be very proud of themselves. It has really brought the play area back to life.”

Teacher Hannah Austin said: “The children had a fantastic time. They really enjoyed working with the artists from Creative Ginger and they’re incredibly proud that their artwork was the inspiration for a design that everyone will see when they visit the seaside for years to come.”

The work on the Marine Walk play area is the latest phase of improvements to the seafront at Roker and Seaburn which last month won an excellence in planning and design from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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