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Art match for college and club

David Armstrong at SAFC Training Ground

Sunderland Association Football Club has netted striking new artwork, thanks to a partnership project with Sunderland College students.

Nathanial Hsu and David Armstrong, who are studying for an Applied Art Foundation Degree were commissioned to create panels to form a mural, which has just been installed at the football club’s world class Academy of Light training ground.

The students painted images of city landmarks on the panels which have been fitted inside a tunnel used by the players to take them from the changing rooms to the training pitches.  The nine panels the young artists have produced span over a twenty metre area, and are designed to bring the tunnel to life.

Nathaniel and David worked together on the paintings of local landmarks, including the Stadium of Light, Penshaw Monument, the shipyards and St Bede’s Church as part of a work experience project they completed to gain their foundation degree qualification this year.

Brian Buddle, head of education and welfare at Sunderland Association Football Club, approached the College’s art tutors to ask if the students would create some artwork to brighten up the tunnel.

He said: “The club provided the materials and the students completed the pieces for the mural.  Along with the help of two maintenance staff based at the Academy, the artwork has recently been installed.

“The finished project certainly fulfils the aim and I would like to thank the Sunderland College students and staff for their commitment over the last few months. They are a credit to the College, their collective talent and hard work has resulted in a mural which will be enjoyed by many people for years to come”

Nathaniel, who is profoundly deaf, was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase his talents in a place that professional footballers use so frequently.

He said: “It is rare to get the chance to be involved in such an interesting project. I am proud that my paintings will be seen daily by Sunderland sporting heroes.

“I am so grateful to Sunderland College, my sign language interpreter and my tutors for their help and support during my time completing the foundation degree qualification.  It has been challenging at times but I have enjoyed it greatly.  I am now going on to complete a BA honours degree at the University of Sunderland, and installing the mural has been a fitting way to celebrate completing my studies with the college.”

David, 22, from Doxford Park, who also plans to complete a top-up course at the University of Sunderland to gain a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art, said he was pleased to have played a part in the project.

David said: “I have grown up in Sunderland and I am proud of the city and its landmarks.  I am a Sunderland AFC fan too, so I was even more excited at the prospect of my artwork being on show at the training ground.”

Anne Brady, work-based learning tutor in art and design and public sculpture, has supported the students in their studies and throughout the project.

She said: “The students have done a great job on the mural.  Their work is extremely creative and it is fantastic that it will be enjoyed by the talented sportsmen at the academy as they train. This was a challenging project due to its scale, but the students have shown their dedication by working throughout the summer holiday to complete the work to coincide with the start of the new season.”

“David and Nathanial were inspired by landmarks across the North East, so the paintings are of some of the area’s most historic buildings and landscapes.  The mural is a celebration of the region and the young talent here – the art of painting and football.  Sunderland College is certainly helping to nurture and develop young people in both areas with the on-going redevelopment of the arts and sports facilities.”

Earlier this year we announced our plans for  the major redevelopment programme as part of a £24million pound investment to upgrade facilities.  The project includes the addition of state-of-the-art sports and arts academies at Bede Campus.

We offer a range of HND, HNC and foundation degree courses that equip students with higher level qualifications to further their education and their career.  To find out more about the range of courses available, or to enrol visit our Higher Education Courses, call 0191 511 6000 or email info@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk

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