Art Projects in Schools

Over several years I have had the opportunity to work with groups of school children on a range of art projects. For these larger projects the emphasis is on being able to involve all participants in producing a quality outcome. The materials are chosen for ease of use and durability. Some of the projects I have worked on are described below. If you are interested in finding out more about my art projects or if you are a school or community group and you just want some suggestions for getting started to design your own you are welcome to contact me.

The Saltburn Local History Mural

The Saltburn Local History Mural was completed through an afterschool history club at Huntcliff School.  Each of the four panels depicts a century of Saltburn's history using a montage of childrens work around a central character from that period. 

Students had researched what local people thought should appear on the mural.  The agreed topics were then drawn by gifted and talented students from Years 7 and 9.  Their designs were transferred onto plywood panels and painted by the students and other volunteers from the school community. 

The finished mural is 8' tall by 16' long and is displayed in the school main hall.

The Huntcliff Timeline

The Huntcliff Timeline was instigated by the Huntcliff School History department with the objective of producing a crosscurricular learning resource with a particular emphasis on chronology. As shown in the photo the new build Saltburn Learning Campus had opened up over 80' of humanities corridor for the project. The timeline was to depict from 1000AD to the opening of Saltburn Learning Campus in 2009 using the scale of 1 inch for each year.

The History department listed suggested dates and encouraged other departments to select and suggest additional subject relevant dates and themes.  The final list included Saltburn local history, kings and queens, China, the causes of WW2, Slavery and the changing role of black people in society, the changing role of women and the development and increasing availability of literature. These and many other dates and themes were then incorporated into a design agreed by the history department and the school. A continuous background enabled the timeline to show gradual changes in things such as fashion and transport. This background was punctuated by boxes showing key dates and events linked to the date line. A timetraveller (and dog) was introduced to the design to appear on every panel.

The whole school had the opportunity to contribute drawings for inclusion in the design. Painting began during a summer holiday club and continued throughout the following term in a weekly afterschool club. Matt emulsion paint was used to allow layering of colour and detail. It also provided a surface that would not cling to the perspex cover.

Once the children had painted the panels they were finished off with outlining and additional detail such as the characters in this medieval street scene. The painting phase of the project took 14 weeks to complete and the timeline was ready to be mounted in the humanities corridor at the beginning of the December holidays.

The Skelton Primary School Timeline

The Skelton Primary School Timeline was painted over several days at Skelton Primary School with groups of children from Y6 and from the school Design Team.  This timeline covers 100 years and is divided into decades.

The content was decided by teachers, parents and the design team. Each decade has a central picture representing a person who was a child at that time but who grew up to by famous or otherwise significant in some way. These central characters include Walt Disney, Neil Armstrong, Richard Branson and J. K. Rowling.  Along the top of the timeline is a view of the Northeast coastline from the sea. The section of coastline that is depicted stretches from Boulby to Teesmouth and the section on each panel is shown as it would have been during that decade.

The East Cleveland Education Improvement Partnership (ECEIP) Legacy Community Art Project

The ECEIP Legacy Community Art Project was a project on a similar scale to the Huntcliff Timeline but carried out accross 12 participating schools in Redcar and Cleveland LEA. Each school chose what should be included to represent themselves and their community. These ideas were then incorporated into 2 panels for each school, one representing the school and the other representing the community. Each school took one day to paint their own panels. Afterwards the panels were finished off, outlined and any necessary labelling added.

The design allows the panels to be displayed in individual schools. The panels also form into a two long continuous images, one for schools and one for communities. This is how they were displayed at the opening event on Saltburn Pier.

Round the World Art topic

Four days of art to support a Round the World Topic gave great opportunities to work in different media and styles with children from St. Joseph's RC Primary School. During the topic each year group participated in one of the art days themed to one of the countries which they were studying.

Y1 and Y2 experimented with Aboriginal style paintings. After looking at some simple Aboriginal style paintings the children chose from simple outlines of Australian animals and then decorated them with dots and patterns. Both year groups produced some stunning work of which one group of turtles is featured here.

Year 3 chose a simple design of a tiger, spider, Indian elephant, hornbill, peacock, or tree on which to base a silk painting. Sprinkling salt on the wet silk paints was highly popular in order to give a marbled effect. Again all the paintings were so stunning that it was hard to choose which to feature here. The relatively limited number of basic traceable designs become highly individual to each student by the time the silk paintings were completed.

Years 4 and 5 used scrap fabric, felt, beads, sequins, clay, paper, card, feathers and many other materials to produce a collage showing different aspects of South African life in three panels depicting city, village and safari.

Year 6 experimented using soft pastels and acrylics to represent the northern lights over an Icelandic landscape.

Captain Cook Primary 50th Anniversary

Captain Cook Primary had a 50th anniversary to commemorate, 1961-2011 and once again we took a windows into time approach contrasting 1961 with 2011. It certainly increased my knowledge of random trivia, such as that 1961 was the year that the millionth Morris 1000 was made and Enid Blyton published "Five go to Demons Rocks".

After the outline structure was decided, one day was spent with groups of children from every year group to design the details of the pictures. At least one drawing from every participating child would be later reproduced in the final art work. The children also spent one day painting the 6 panels.