Sunflowers will create a Vincent Van Gogh painting across Wakefield

Thousands of sunflower seeds are being distributed across Wakefield to spread hope and joy across the city.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Staff and friends of The Art House are banding together to give the seeds to groups and organisations to make lockdown a little bit brighter for our city

Staff and friends of The Art House are banding together to give the seeds to groups and organisations to make lockdown a little bit brighter.

The idea began when Sydney Thornbury, CEO and Artistic Director of The Art House, decided to plant 100 sunflowers around the building on Drury Lane.

Sydney said: "You can't not smile when you see a sunflower, so to spread some positivity and show our gratitude to all our front-line workers, The Art House planted 550 sunflowers around our building.

The idea was inspired by Van Gogh's fascination with sunflowers which took hold after he left Holland for France in pursuit of creating an artistic community

“We can't wait to see their bright shining heads as they explode into bloom along Drury Lane later this summer."

Nick Cockayne, a friend of The Art House, was inspired by Sydney's efforts to make the community smile, so he bought thousands of seeds to be given to the community.

Nick said: “My good friend Sydney moved into the flat at the Art House so she’s been living on site, and she has planted beds on the roof terrace for the sunflowers to grow.

“What inspired me to get involved was when she told me a story about artist Vincent Van Gogh, who had an obsession with sunflowers after moving from Holland for France.

Artist, Ellie Way, has also been getting involved by painting a mural on the wall of the Art House, facing out onto Mulberry Way

“The plants symbolise hope, I think that resonates a perfect message for the times we are living in now.”

After speaking to Sydney, Nick bought two sacks full, totalling out at a quarter of a million seeds to hand out.

Nick has been delivering the seeds to community groups and organisations to add a splash of colour to the area when the plants eventually flower between the end of July and early August.

Nick said: “I’ve been posting on Facebook that I will happily deliver the seeds to organisations and resident groups who wish to get involved in the Sunflower Spectacular.

Nick is delivering the sunflowers seeds to groups across Wakefield

“So far I’ve done a few deliveries around Crigglestone, Durkar, Hall Green and Kettlethorpe

that have been really well received, people of all ages are getting involved with planting and they’re looking forward to seeing the town when they all flower.

“I’m trying to target groups rather than individuals, because I don’t think I’ll get a chance to deliver to that many people, however if individuals would be willing to share them out with their communities, I will happily deliver to them.”

Artist, Ellie Way, has also been getting involved by painting a mural on the wall of the Art House, facing out onto Mulberry Way in preparation for the sunflowers to bloom.

Sydney said: “When Nick suggested distributing sunflower seeds to local residents all across Wakefield so that we could turn the whole city into our version of Van Gogh's painting, we knew he was onto something.

“We hope as many people as possible will plant sunflowers to help Wakefield stay positive and grateful."

To enquire about deliveries, contact Nick Cockayne via his Sunflower Spectacular Facebook group Wakefield Sunflower Spectacular