Two local artists have been chosen to work with their local communities to design new artworks for Hebburn and Bede stations on the Tyne and Wear Metro in South Tyneside.
The works by Karen Atkinson and Mark Gibson will take pride of place at the stations which are currently being refurbished through the £389m Metro: all change modernisation programme.
Cllr Fay Cunningham, the Mayor of South Tyneside, met both artists at the Hive Art Studios, situated within Bede’s World in Jarrow, where Mark has been working with local people.
Cllr Cunningham said: “These new works of art will add a splash of colour to the stations and, by reflecting the Borough’s history, will give local people a renewed sense of pride and ownership in these stations.” Karen, a photographer from Jarrow, is working with members of the Jarrow and Hebburn Local History Society through its regular weekly meetings at the Mid Tyne Activities Centre on Grange Road, Jarrow.
The finished multi-media work will span both platforms at Hebburn, shedding new light on aspects of the town’s history including the famous HMS Kelly story and the Reyrolle plant. Karen said: “Researching Hebburn’s rich history has become a real labour of love, greatly inspired by the fascinating stories and amazing wealth of archive material shared with me by members of the Jarrow & Hebburn Local History Society.
“Their passion and enthusiasm has inspired me to learn much more about the people and the places than I would ever have anticipated, becoming intrigued by and thoroughly engrossed in each twist and turn in the stories shared.”
Mark, the founder of Hive Art Studios, is working with the Bede of Jarrow U3A and A-List Ladies community groups to create a colourful new work for nearby Bede station.
Local landmarks and wildlife is being merged into colourful panels which also feature the poetry of Jarrow writer Tom Kelly, which was an inspiration for the volunteer artists.
Mark said: “It has been a challenging but rewarding experience bringing lots of local people together and using different artistic techniques. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s contributions integrated into the final installation.”
The new commissions are being funded by DB Regio, which operates Metro on behalf of Nexus, and Nexus itself through its Art on Transport Programme.
Hebburn, Bede and Jarrow stations are now being refurbished by Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, with work due to be completed at the end of October.
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 Hebburn Karen’s commission will replace work by Lucy Crow installed in 2000. At Bede, Mark’s work succeeds that by Mike Clay and Fiona Rutherford from 2003.
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.