I was artist-in-residence at Westmeads Community Infants School in Whitstable, Kent for the Summer term of 2021.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the residency focused on bringing children together to co-create art and support their wellbeing through creative activities.
I worked collaboratively with every pupil (180) and teacher in the school to explore what made them feel happy. Using drawing, printmaking, painting and mindfulness activities we created artwork that expressed their love of nature, home, friends, family and having fun.
Art helps me feel things inside my body and get them outChild, Year 2
The project culminated in a large-scale installation in the school’s Edwardian hall, a place where the children gather to eat and play on a daily basis. Our Rainbow features five colourful fabric banners that stretch the length of the space. Each banner is informed by the children’s and teacher’s drawings and ideas.
Our Rainbow is really fantastic – makes a big impact. It adds a warmth to the space and is rich with all the children’s contributions.Clare Thomas, Parent
As part of the residency, I also led two teacher CPD sessions, one focusing on printmaking techniques in the classroom and in the second I introduced the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The CPD sessions supported the teachers to feel confident about leading creative sessions in their classrooms beyond the residency.
Thank you for the energy you brought to the school and project. I know my kids were buzzing from every single session with you. As were all the other kids. Never stop doing your art and bringing it to schools as it’s definitely a gift you have and sharing your gift has left and impression on my children.Yvonne Needham, Parent and Chair of Friends of Westmeads
Our Rainbow engaged 180 school children, 25 teachers and staff. Bespoke videos created for remote learning reached every family in the school community.
Our Rainbow has been submitted to Animate Arts, Art Builders Recipe of Happiness competition.
The project was funded by Friends of Westmeads.