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Art for Guernsey and Education collaborate to bring Renoir to life for primary students

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Thursday 24 November 2022

Art for Guernsey and Education have been collaborating on a project that has seen 530 Year 3 students across 11 primary schools bring the work of French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir to life.

Across six one-hour sessions, children learn how to generate an idea and a composition for their own artwork and how to experience various art mediums. They are then shown the original Renoir painting brought back to the island by Art for Guernsey, with the view of using it as an educational tool to learn how to read a painting as well as promoting and celebrating our incredibly rich cultural heritage.

A further two sessions are dedicated to creating an artwork which this year will have a special relevance to Renoir. The Renoir family could not afford to pay for Pierre-Auguste's education, so he had to leave school at the age of 13 in order to earn money. He became an apprentice to a porcelain painter in a Parisian factory and decorated ceramic crockery to learn how to paint as well as making a living. All 530 Year 3 students' artwork will be printed on ceramic tiles, which will be displayed in the new Art for Guernsey gallery as part of a satellite event of 'Renoir in Guernsey, 1883', an international exhibition celebrating the inspiration that he found on the island, in partnership with the Guernsey Museums and the Musée des Impressionnismes, Giverny, including a host of major international loans.

The initiative with Art for Guernsey forms part of Education's Cultural Enrichment Programme, which uses funding generated through changes to family allowance to deliver meaningful experiences for children outside of normal curriculum-based activities. The funding ensures cultural enrichment activities are provided to all learners during the school day as part of their educational development. The Cultural Enrichment Programme is a natural extension of the work of Art for Guernsey and Arts for Impact, organisations which have long collaborated with Education to deliver in schools.

David Ummels, Founder of Art for Guernsey, said:

"This collaboration with Education makes so much sense and comes to fruition after many relevant collaborations between our organisations. Art for Guernsey's artists in residence have run multiple workshops within schools, we welcome numerous students to our exhibitions, sponsor art lectures for children and provide life-changing scholarships in London to four local art students each summer. Art in School, our innovative art-lending programme involving the loan of museum-quality artworks to schools, has been an incredibly inspiring success over the last five years.

We feel passionate about creating educational opportunities for local youths to develop their creativity and independent thinking, and art is a formidable and fun way to do that. We also curate children's art exhibitions and we will have a dedicated space in our new gallery for them, to make and show their art and feel proud about it, as well as a workshop for art students. The fact that we have merged with Arts for Impact brings us even more potential, as over the years their team has developed an incredible ability to deliver workshops with purpose and social, societal and educational impact."

Kim Hutchison, Head of Primary Leadership and Development, said:

"This initiative is another great example of helping children to learn and feel passionate about culturally significant subjects outside of the traditional curriculum. That is what our Cultural Enrichment Programme is all about and builds on the priorities of the Education Strategy. One of the commitments of our Strategy is to use partnerships to continuously improve education and this joint initiative with Art for Guernsey is further evidence of that in action."

Helen Bonner-Morgan, Community Director, said:

"Each member of the team knows that, among many other benefits, making and creating art builds confidence and courage in an individual. This enriching project gives each pupil the opportunity to develop these qualities while learning practical skills and about how Renoir bravely innovated his own practice, having been inspired by our beautiful island and its people."

Anne Maclean, Workshop Lead, said:

"We've had a wonderful set of art sessions with the children, and they've clearly loved the experience! They've enjoyed producing some very creative work, whilst at the same time learning about Renoir and exploring the use of some new art materials and techniques. This has been a wonderful project to be a part of, and the feedback from the children and teachers has been incredibly positive.

A particularly rewarding aspect of the project so far has been the group discussion at the very end of each block, where the children gather round their own finished pieces of art and take turns to comment on the work of the whole group. They have made some lovely comments and been thoughtful and supportive of each other."

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