In 2017, Mall Galleries continued their on-going educational project partnership with the RSMA, launching a regional project working with home-educated children on the Isle of Wight. The project brought together local artists, children, their families and a wide range of art organisations in order to explore the diverse faces of marine life and imagery around the island. Events and workshops were based at Quay Art Centre and at Jubilee Stores, an old warehouse converted into studios and classrooms for artists on the quayside at Newport.

Taking a closer look…so much to get inspired by

Our aim was to introduce participants to a wide range of art forms in order to record images from the area but also to create their own open-ended interpretations of the marine surroundings. Participants were aged between 11 and 16 years old, but the group also included their parents and guardians, younger siblings, babies and dogs!

Looking for the perfect shot

The project started with a series of photography workshops including a day of walking around, exploring Newport Quay as well as practical sessions showing participants how to edit their photographs, how to use image manipulation software and ultimately how to make decisions about which works should be included in their final portfolio. The selected photographs became part of an artwork display alongside a contemporary marine art exhibition at The Quay Art Centre, a truly unique experience for the group to share their work with the wider public.

The second part of the project focused on drawing and creating their own artists’ books. Participants started by sketching a view of a length of Newport Quay, extended over several pages of a concertina book. They were encouraged to include as much detail as possible while drawing everything outside in challenging weather conditions. The group proved to be patient, managed to work hard and concentrate in order to complete their sketches. Back in the studio, they drew inspiration from their drawings to produce prints and collages. This workshop was followed by a book-making activity, with the group transforming their concertina drawings into their individual artist’s book.

The year culminated with a Christmas drawing activity where everyone got to celebrate and share their successes from last year and look forward to continuing to expand their creativity in 2018. We do hope that the project will receive further funding in order to continue our regional presence on the Isle of Wight, as well as to be able to offer participants the opportunity to display their artwork at the RSMA exhibition in October.

With thanks to

Nick Martin, artist, for leading the photography session

Ian Whitmore, artist, for leading the drawing workshop

Melanie Swan, artist, for leading the book-making workshop

Martin Swan, Education Officer RSMA for initiating and managing the project