Thursday 29th of June is Children's Art Day. It's a day of events to celebrate art in schools and galleries, museums, art centres and science and discovery centres, as well as in unusual places all over the country.
Activities are also taking place this weekend 1-2 July. For example on Sunday 3 July, children and their families will be taking over Trafalgar Square to join in a giant open-air art workshop. The Trafalgar Square celebrations will be based on the theme of Friendship and will include special outdoor activities all over the Square as well as invitations to workshops and activities indoors at the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. All the events are free.
On Children's Art Day in 2005, an event at the Tate Modern launched a national debate addressing issues surrounding the status of children's art - how it is taught, how it is influenced by artists and galleries, how it has influenced artists, and why it is so rarely displayed outside of schools. Findings are available in pdf form here "How old do you have to be to be an artist?"
You can find a list of all registered events both in schools and for families at the Engage website. Engage promotes greater access to and enjoyment of the visual arts and is managing the Children's Art Day activities on behalf of Artworks.
I was alerted to Children's Art Day by a 3 minute item on Channel 4 last night which showed the 2002 Turner Prize winner Kevin Tyson returning to his old school in Cumbria to open a new computer centre. His old art teacher had a collection of his schoolday works lovingly stored in a planchest His fame has clearly inspired a new generation of artists, with his ex-teacher telling him how current students had clearly recognised the drawings as being like those Tyson has produced as an adult - it makes one wonder how early individual style begins to emerge. There are series of short items running all week. Tonight, Peter Blake, the creator of the cover for the Beatles album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, goes back to the school he left 70 years ago to find out things have changed.
The Clore Duffield Foundation launched the Artworks: Young Artists of the Year Awards in 1999, as part of a wide-ranging programme to support the visual arts in schools. The aim of the programme comprising a number of initiatives including the Awards themselves, together with Research, Publications, and Children's Art Day has been to inspire and support teachers; to enable and provide funding for art in schools; and to create exciting new opportunities for children to work closely with galleries, museums and practising artists. To date, more than 1,800 schools and 200,000 children and young people have participated in Artworks, making it the biggest and most influential scheme of its kind in the UK.
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