Artwork brightens up Millfield Pocket Park

A Sunderland artist has added a touch of colour and creativity to brighten up a city park. 

Millfield councillors worked with Sunderland Culture to commission artist Kathryn Robertson to give Millfield Pocket Park a bit of TLC. Kathryn has transformed several concrete blocks with colourful murals, providing a much more attractive environment for park users. 

Laura Brewis, a producer at Sunderland Culture explained: “The Millfield ward councillors came to us asking to support them with selecting an artist to brighten up the pocket park, and we were happy to do so. 

“We put out an open call out for artists to send us their proposals and ideas and then worked with the councillors and local community to select an artist. Kathryn was chosen and she’s done a terrific job.” 

Millfield Lib Dem councillor Niall Hodson added: “It’s a well used park and has been very busy during the Covid lockdowns. However, it was looking a bit neglected and we thought it was a good idea to brighten the park and lift everyone’s spirits at the same time. 

“This could be the first step in rejuvenating some of the city’s smaller parks, some of which are looking a bit bleak. We spent local ward funds on the commission and the response so far has been very positive. 

“I really like what Kathryn has done, I’ve seen her work around the city, places like the Elephant Tea Rooms and at National Glass Centre, and have been impressed.” 

Kathryn, from Silksworth, has completed various commissions since graduating from University of Sunderland with a degree in graphic design in 2019. She received the university’s 2019 Design Student Award and her popular murals depicting Sunderland skylines can be seen in places such as Holmeside Coffee and several University of Sunderland buildings. 

Kathryn also provided illustrations for Sunderland Culture’s Rebel Women of Sunderland project and also provided artwork for Sunderland Empire’s Ghostlight session which reopened the theatre. 

She said: “I’ve really enjoyed the park commission, it’s not my usual style but I loved working with the colours and people using the park have said it’s made a difference. I think bright, colourful artwork can improve an environment and also improve people’s sense of wellbeing – it cheers you up! 

“I spent a bit of time in the park, looked at who was using it, then came up with the designs that I submitted for the open call.”