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2 July 2011

I love art, especially on a Wednesday between 2pm - 6pm

'I love art'. That probably goes without saying. I'm not alone in loving it either, as the 'I love art' project in association with SPAEDA aims to prove. The educational programme [created and run by Sara Dudman] takes four pupils who are in the last year of primary education and four pupils in secondary education who are either interested or enjoy creating art and possibly demonstrate skill or enthusiasm in the subject area. Featuring several different schools the groups of school children are then invited along with their teachers to take part in four hour workshops at The Brewhouse or The Castle School. These creative sessions are all about, er, art! Well art appreciation kind-of. How to read art? Make studies of work in a gallery context, become familiar with looking at work in galleries, learn how to talk about art, recognise themes/reasons why someone has created a piece of work etc. Essentially its taking a group of pupils, some who may have never been to an art gallery before and teaching them how to be an art detectives. What clues in a work of art make you arrive to certain conclusions or assumptions? And so forth. Although, of course it would never be as dry as to just analyse art work, the project is also about engaging with art and using it as a resource to inspire and fuel their own work.
At this point I should probably mention that I, by chance events, ended up helping on this project and hopefully plan on seeing it through to its conclusion in September. We've had two sessions, the first of which was at The Brewhouse looking at the 'Ad Lucem' exhibition and the second session was at The Castle School in which we 'threw' ourselves into dry point etching. So, anyway as I was saying, it isn't just about analysing work, oh no! It's also about how to make notes about art, record and document works of art you see, things like: how to keep a sketchbook. Ok, I know you know what I mean, but if you were 11 or 14 years old then this would be very inspiring. In fact even though I have kept numerous sketchbooks, I still feel like I learnt some things from having it explained again, and certainly inspired. I'm always amazed at artists that don't keep a sketchbook, they're such a useful resource to have. Apart from sketchbooks the pupils and teachers alike got to try some mono type printing with Simon from the 'Double Elephant Print workshop' where the idea was to use their studies of the work in the exhibition to create some prints. No pressure. The whole programme is about 'giving it a go' and breaking away from the angst and pressures of 'having to make good art' (whatever that is exactly?). As the adult here, I can not begin to tell you how good it feels to not worry about the end result and just play. Playing and learning to 'let go' is something I often forget or I am too uptight to do in my own practice so it was fantastic to experiment for an afternoon. Given the amount of prints produced by the children and the energy they put into the work, I can only assume that they enjoyed it too. There should be more of these kinds of things going on, I feel. As an artist I find working with the school pupils inspiring and makes me want to be more experimental in my own practice and seeing how the children react to working with artists [using Simon from the print workshop as an example here] I think they also have a positive experience learning from someone other than their teachers. There's something refreshing about a different context other than 'the classroom'.
So the whole thing is very positive and it deserves to be, with lots and lots of enthusiasm and great quality drawings whizzing about the rooms of the Brewhouse and Castle School art room who wouldn't feel inspired? The greater goal for this ambitious project is both to help year six primary school pupils with the transition into secondary school life as well as hopefully the pupils on the project sharing their experiences with their peers. That on top of the teachers (who also attend/take part) in the sessions makes for a good amount of filtration to make the whole project inspire as many people as possible to 'love art'.Well, its not really even about 'loving' art, it's about learning to engage with it better and maybe beginning to understand and answer why it is that some of us do love it.

That and sometimes its just great to draw a pair of ballet shoes!

(above) Ever since I wore a badge that bore the word 'dragon' I've always believed that badges should state the obvious.

(above and below) Some continuous line mono type prints by me done at the first 'I love art' session at The Brewhouse.
The 'I love art' project continues....

For more details on SPAEDA projects and more please go to:
And why not check out 'The Double elephant print workshop' website too:

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