Local construction company offers support to build the arts
Construction company, Overbury, has helped to build the arts during the pandemic by supporting the University of Wolverhampton’s campaign to get arts packs into local schools in the region.
The University’s Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences has worked with contractors and local business contacts to pledge support towards creating arts packs as part of its wider ‘ArtsDrop’ Programme.
The ‘ArtsDrop’ Programme has run in parallel to ‘Let’s Craft’, a programme managed by Arts Connect, who are also part of the Faculty. ‘Let’s Craft’ saw the delivery of over 5,000 packs of art and craft materials to children in care and pre-school children across the region. This scheme was funded by Arts Council England and the Craft Council.
Overbury, a local contractor currently working with the University of Wolverhampton on its £5million Marches Centre of Health Excellence refurbishment project in Telford, made a donation and the funds were used to create an ArtsDrop at local Norton Canes High School in Cannock.
Penelope Mitchell, Account Manager for Overbury, said “We were delighted to help support the scheme when approached by the University.
“The pandemic has had impacts far and wide for our young adults and children of school ages. The lack of social interaction, knowledge sharing, welfare and sporting activities has changed the wellbeing of this generation over the past year, and it’s the same for creative aspects to learning.
“Looking after the future creatives and supporting wellbeing for school pupils has never been more important in the local communities we work with.”
Alexina Evans, Art Subject Leader at Norton Canes High School, said: “Over the past few years my Art & Design Department has forged connections with the University of Wolverhampton due to my students participating in Art experience days and visiting the annual Degree Shows.
“In 2020 opportunities for my students were halted almost overnight with no more on-site schooling, no ability to undertake practical lessons in a classroom, no more Artist in Residence workshops and of course no provision to have wider Art experiences such as visiting an exhibition or those opportunities previously offered by the University. One of the biggest challenges was the ability for students to access basic materials.
“In the first lockdown my students and I became creative, using cereal boxes as paper, painting with coffee, food colourings and using obscure paint colours found in tins buried in garages and sheds. Modelling and 3D skills were embraced by incorporating found items from around the home and drawing inspiration from our surroundings by observing and drawing items found in the new “home school environments”.
“We are embracing home learning in Lockdown 3. A number of my students are now greatly benefiting thanks to the support from the University. The provisions of brushes, pencils, paint, glue and paper means that creativity can be focused on generating Art pieces as opposed to worrying over how to access materials.
“As a teacher it has been reassuring to think that they all have the same much needed materials at home as they rely on such media and facilities to be provided in the classroom environment. Whilst these students are no longer being taught in school and are instead learning at home, they too have the same opportunities as their peers and feel privileged for receiving one of the packs which in turn insights them to work harder.”
To date £500 of donations have been made creating 50 packs for 5 schools and academies across the region.
Maggie Ayliffe, Head of the University’s School of Art, said: “Our aim through this project is to reach pupils who have had their learning and school experience disrupted due to the pandemic.
“Evidence shows that being creative teaches young people new skills and increases their overall happiness and wellbeing. We hope that this project has enabled them to continue their subject development and live creative lives during lockdown.”
Picture caption: Work created by pupils aged 14 to 17 years old at Norton Canes High School.
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