A vibrant new community artwork has been unveiled to mark the completion of refurbishment work at Bede Metro station in South Tyneside.
Ten colourful panels have been designed to span both platforms at the stations, designed by local artist Mark Gibson with the help of the Bede of Jarrow U3A, Active Ladies community groups and other individuals, friends and artists.
The panels bring together poetry by Jarrow writer Tom Kelly who kindly gave free one hour poetry readings at Bede’s World as part of the project involvement with local groups, with images of local landmarks and wildlife drawn on a background of colourful abstract paintings by Mark and his volunteers at the Hive Art Studios in nearby Bede’s World.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Fay Cunningham, unveiled the new work and said: “This striking new art is a great way to give local people a renewed sense of pride and ownership in these stations.
“It is a huge pleasure to see the finished work go up at Bede, after seeing how much energy and enthusiasm went into creating these panels at the Hive Studios over the summer.”
Mark, the founder of Hive Art Studios, said: “It has been a challenging and rewarding experience bringing lots of local people together, using different artistic techniques and disciplines, from drawing to abstract painting, photography, poetry and calligraphy, representing the aspirations of a brighter future, while celebrating the achievements of our distant and more recent past.
“Jarrow has a fantastic rich, proud and massively influential history, which needs celebrating and remembered. South Tyneside and the North East as a whole, has a very enthusiastic, active, imaginative and creative population, but we do need more outlets for our creative endeavours.
“Bede station offers one great way of showcasing some of our collective creativity, with a guarantee of offering lots artists a ‘platform’ for their work.”
The new commission has been funded by DB Regio, which operates Metro on behalf of Nexus, and system-owner Nexus itself through its Art on Transport Programme.
Bede, along with two neighbouring stations Jarrow and Hebburn, have been refurbished over the summer by Nexus as part of the £389m Metro: all change modernisation programme.
The project, delivered by local construction firm Brims, will improve accessibility, seating and lighting as well as giving the stations a bright new look. At Bede, Mark’s work succeeds an earlier community artwork by Mike Clay and Fiona Rutherford from 2003.
A second new commission is to be unveiled at Hebburn station in the coming days.
Both new works are to be printed and installed within new display cases at the stations, creating the opportunity for new works to be commissioned every few years in future.