Larkhall Open Studios artists help Yr 7s

Local artists Simon Hodges and Dawn Lippiatt have been working with Year 7 pupils at St Mark’s School to create individual pieces of art that celebrate all
that is great about the school.

Working initially with the English department, the children have been involved in ‘Word Workshops’ to build a list of meaningful words that describe how they feel about their school.

Over a series of art workshops run by Dawn and Simon, the children will be expected to turn these words into individual pieces of art using a range of techniques and styles. Each piece will be exhibited for visitors to select their favourites, so that the most popular can be turned into a bigger outdoor installation in the summer.

The project is one of a series organised by the school and artists from the Larkhall Open Studios in the lead up to the Larkhall Festival. It provides an opportunity for young people to work alongside professional artists and use their creativity to produce an installation that celebrates the community.

Organiser, Paula Hawkins from St Mark’s School, said, “Our collaboration with the Open Studios artists continues to grow year on year and I’m so pleased that Simon and Dawn are joining our school once again to take part in this project. Sharing skills, knowledge and experience in this way, allows the children to have huge amounts of fun whilst learning about art and the different mediums through which they can express themselves.”

“It’s not just about creating a wonderful piece of art for the community to enjoy, but also giving them unique experiences and ownership of their environment.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the final piece on the front of the main building at St Mark’s later this year!”

Artist, Simon Hodges, said, “Whilst this is the third year that I have taken part in a project with children at St Mark’s it is still a challenge for an artist who likes to work alone. I always think of my art teacher at school who, when I look back didn’t teach me anything I can remember, but had a genuine enthusiasm for art in all it’s shapes and forms and encouraged a need to try and if necessary fail in an effort to achieve something good.”

“He provided materials and gave me the confidence to try. It has taken me a long time to begin to take this philosophy on board again and if I do nothing else it is to pass on this desire to give it a ‘genuine’ go even if it may not result in a final picture or design first time.”

Dawn added, “I think that working in school as an artist is a very symbiotic relationship in that I learn as much from the children as I hope that they do from me.”

“I’m a great believer of learning through play and I still haven’t stopped! Frankly I have no idea what the final outcome of this work will look like. I do however know that it will be the children who made it and not me, not Simon and not the staff.”

“Hopefully it will develop self confidence in what the children can achieve, a sense of joy at its boldness by their contemporaries and pride from the families and local community.”