When the University was looking to make their newest café appeal to students, they went to the obvious place, the students themselves, to create unique artworks.
The call went out to students and Jessica Browne, a local artist from Sunderland, was asked to create a splash of colour to complement the tea and coffee at the new Gateway Café.
Jessica, 23, graduated MA Fine Art from the University last year, and is now studying for her PhD, also at Sunderland. She says her work – 21 paintings that cover the wall of the new café – was inspired by the natural world, and her native North East.
“I’m a self-employed artist, and loaning some of my work to the University seemed like a great opportunity to get some of my art seen,” says Jessica. “Also, I’d just moved studios and I had way too many paintings, so it was nice to make a bit of space!
“The work is abstract, but inspired by botanical and plants from the region.”
Jessica’s work is making a splash in the region – as well as the work on display in the café, she is also one of a number of artists who have created surfboards for the exhibition, City by the Sea, on display at Sunderland’s Beam, the new development at the city’s former Vaux site.
“I really like the idea of creating work for my home city. I think you can have a sustainable career as an artist if you stay in the North East.”
Paula Bass, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities at the University, says: "The new Gateway Café design presented a great opportunity to showcase work by our own very talented students.
"We are really grateful to Jess for loaning us her works featuring botanicals which compliments the new café design perfectly.
"We will be changing the artworks on display in the Gateway Café on a regular basis and looking for other opportunities across both campuses to feature works by our students."