September 19, 2014
Ten Newton Abbot schools worked together for over a year on a one of the most ambitious projects ever supported by The Helen Foundation. When the charity was first approached by the Newton Abbot Learning Community with details of the proposed project, Trustees immediately sensed the possibilities of something special. Through the hard work of many staff and professional artists and the terrific commitment, creativity and enthusiasm of the students from 10 schools in the Newton Abbot area something truly remarkable was developed.
Using multi-art forms, students explored completely new areas of experience. The results were stunning. Trustees of the charity have been so impressed by the young people of Newton Abbot! They deserve every congratulation. With a multi-arts focus and long-term engagement of the artists involved, the project culminated in a superb exhibition and performance at Seale Hayne College, Newton Abbot in July. There were displays of printmaking, large sculptural heads, documentary films, animations, journals, photography, paintings and a digital tapestry. There were also performances from students including a soul band, choir, vocals and a zumbatomic dance crew. The event was an overwhelming success and visited by hundreds of students and their families, teaching staff and members of the public. Just two of many points of interest were:
Artist James Lake specializes in large-scale cardboard sculptures and the young people rose to the challenge of creating compelling figures from cardboard and other materials.
Using printing presses, stop-frame photography and computers, remarkable results came from the young people working under the guidance of Double Elephant to create exciting animations that told a simple story. This kind of work in schools is only possible with the leadership of professional artists whose engagement by schools is enabled with THF funding.
One of the special features of the project was the fact that teenagers from secondary school worked with primary children in co-operative teams from which both groups benefited.
The final exhibition also featured superb art-work from all the schools, plus a range of music that attracted a large audience.
Project Co-ordinator, Julia Payne, writes:
“The 365 Festival was such a fantastic success: we have had an overwhelming number of positive comments about the weekend, and it really exceeded everyone’s original expectations – thank you to The Helen Foundation!”