26 January 2006
Artwork by pupils at Abertillery Comprehensive School is being showcased at the Crafts in the Bay Exhibition in Cardiff Bay from Friday 27thJanuary to Monday 6th February.
Mrs Jenny Woodroffe, the Head of Art at the school is holding the exhibition with artists in residence, who have worked with pupils over the past seven years.
In that time, the Art Department at Abertillery Comprehensive has raised over £180,000 to give pupils from the age of 11-16 the opportunity to work alongside artists and designers, to improve their own environment and to take part in multicultural festivals.
They have also won several competitions, including gaining the first prize in two categories at the V&A London Cannon Gallery in 2001 and winning a computer and digital cameras. Pupils took photographs in their local environment, which was then exhibited in the Gallery for three months.
In 2001, year nine pupils worked with artists David Mackie and Barbara Bayer to introduce a seating area in the schools courtyard and received the Artworks prize from Tate Modern London after completing the project. The School received £2000 and original Anish Kapoor prints.
The next year a covered performance area was introduced with £110,000 from European funding, New Opportunities and Silent Valley Trust. Pupils, artists and the local community worked together to introduce this project.
The school also holds Multicultural Festivals each year, for year six pupils from the feeder primary schools and year seven from Abertillery Comprehensive. The festival combines art with music, drama, PE, food and textiles.
The festivals were introduced in 2003 when pupils took part in workshops such as Samba Dancing, Indian Dancing, Aztec Mask Making, Sari Costume Design, Steel Pan Band, Japanese Contemporary Dancing, Indian Cuisine, African/Caribbean Cuisine, New Zealand Painter and a Notting Hill Carnival Costume Designer.
Over 400 pupils aged 10 to 12 took part in the festivals, which was held in the outdoor covered performance area, and continues to be held each year. Communities First, Princes Trust Wales, Millennium Volunteers and The Arts Council of Wales funded this project.
In 2004, the sculpture called ‘Lady of Abertillery’ was unveiled in the school grounds, the garden outside the drama studio was completed and an exhibition of pupil’s jewellery and masks was held. Artist Edwina Jaques worked on the £20,000 project with Year 11 GCSE Art students. They created Jewellery, a mosaic plaque and were involved in creating the base of our Sculpture ‘The Lady of Abertillery’.
Councillor Gill Clark, Executive Member for Helping People into Work and Chair of Governors at Abertillery Comprehensive School, said: “Art and Design has become a very popular option with over 100 pupils taking the GCSE this year and 91% of pupils gaining A*- C grades last summer. The school has worked incredibly hard over the past seven years to involve pupils in improving their own environment with art. They have won a number of very prestigious awards and I am delighted that they have the opportunity to take part in the exhibition and demonstrate the hard work of both pupils and staff.”