Toggle menu

Students collaborate to turn lockdown school storage unit into work of art

Gateshead School Mural

Students in Gateshead and Newcastle have collaborated to turn an unappealing but necessary school storage unit into a work of art.

Ryton Infant and Junior School in Gateshead was required to get on-site additional storage to allow for socially distanced lessons throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

A sizeable shipping container, over 12 metres long and 2 metres high, was purchased in March 2020 so that children from key worker families and with educational needs could continue to attend the school at the peak of lockdown.

As useful as the shipping container was for storage, staff at the school couldn't deny it was a blot on the school landscape and made the decision that something must be done.

As a result of this decision, Illustration degree students at Newcastle College were commissioned to paint the container in bright, cheery colours based on their own unique designs.

Amelia Palmer, 21, who submitted the winning design that was selected by the school's Year 5 pupils, had her artwork chosen for its themes of nature and wildlife, which acted as a reminder to all children at the school of the importance of getting outdoors and taking care of our environment.

Amelia is going on to complete a Master's Degree in Children's Book Illustration and found that the project was a great opportunity to gain experience working on a larger scale, collaborating with the school and professional spray painter Dan McConway.

Helen Laybourne, School Business Manager at Ryton Federation of Infant and Junior Schools, said: "We started thinking about how to improve things last March and made an initial enquiry with Newcastle College Art Department to see if they had any ideas.

"They couldn't have been more helpful and set about a challenge for their Illustration degree students to create a design.

"We are all so happy with the design as the children love learning outdoors and in our own forest, so it feels really representative of our school and the happier times ahead."

Gateshead paint manufacturer AkzoNobel, through its Team Valley Dulux Decorating Store, supported the school and college with base paint.

David Hails, Illustration course tutor at Newcastle College, said: "The project was a really fantastic opportunity for our degree students to get involved with and we couldn't have been happier to help.

"It was a real community project, right down to the providers of the base paint, which was wonderful to be part of and an excellent learning experience for our students who want to produce outdoor art on a large scale."

Councillor Gary Haley, cabinet member for children and young people at Gateshead Council, added: "Many of our schools across Gateshead had to make changes during the pandemic to continue providing the best possible learning experience for children and young people.

"To see how the students came together to make art out of an eyesore, however essential, is really uplifting."

Gateshead School Mural
23 March 2022

Students in Gateshead and Newcastle have collaborated to turn an unappealing but necessary school storage unit into a work of art.

Ryton Infant and Junior School in Gateshead was required to get on-site additional storage to allow for socially distanced lessons throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

A sizeable shipping container, over 12 metres long and 2 metres high, was purchased in March 2020 so that children from key worker families and with educational needs could continue to attend the school at the peak of lockdown.

As useful as the shipping container was for storage, staff at the school couldn't deny it was a blot on the school landscape and made the decision that something must be done.

As a result of this decision, Illustration degree students at Newcastle College were commissioned to paint the container in bright, cheery colours based on their own unique designs.

Amelia Palmer, 21, who submitted the winning design that was selected by the school's Year 5 pupils, had her artwork chosen for its themes of nature and wildlife, which acted as a reminder to all children at the school of the importance of getting outdoors and taking care of our environment.

Amelia is going on to complete a Master's Degree in Children's Book Illustration and found that the project was a great opportunity to gain experience working on a larger scale, collaborating with the school and professional spray painter Dan McConway.

Helen Laybourne, School Business Manager at Ryton Federation of Infant and Junior Schools, said: "We started thinking about how to improve things last March and made an initial enquiry with Newcastle College Art Department to see if they had any ideas.

"They couldn't have been more helpful and set about a challenge for their Illustration degree students to create a design.

"We are all so happy with the design as the children love learning outdoors and in our own forest, so it feels really representative of our school and the happier times ahead."

Gateshead paint manufacturer AkzoNobel, through its Team Valley Dulux Decorating Store, supported the school and college with base paint.

David Hails, Illustration course tutor at Newcastle College, said: "The project was a really fantastic opportunity for our degree students to get involved with and we couldn't have been happier to help.

"It was a real community project, right down to the providers of the base paint, which was wonderful to be part of and an excellent learning experience for our students who want to produce outdoor art on a large scale."

Councillor Gary Haley, cabinet member for children and young people at Gateshead Council, added: "Many of our schools across Gateshead had to make changes during the pandemic to continue providing the best possible learning experience for children and young people.

"To see how the students came together to make art out of an eyesore, however essential, is really uplifting."

More Gateshead news
Help us improve this site by giving feedback