Children from Balfour Primary School in Brighton had special inspiration from an art collection from the University of Brighton when they created their own works for this year’s Open Houses Festival.
Specially selected items from the Aldrich Collection of Contemporary Art were installed at the school in a mission to bring children closer to the experience of seeing and understanding art. The children then responded to the art, creating their own gallery of works, which was open to the public as part of the Festival.
For many children this was their first time so close to a genuine art collection. The selected pieces included original pictures from John Vernon Lord’s children’s book The Runaway Roller Skate and a blue-flecked stone horse by Tanya Brett called ‘Stilton’. The children also received visits by local artists and makers including artist Jack Durling, design student Tom Meades, potter Finola Maynard and printer River Jade.
The project was led by Philippa Aldrich and Molly Aldrich-Wincer, whose parents and grandparents, Michael and Sandy Aldrich, founded the collection at the university. Thanks to the generosity and vision of the founders, the collection provides a resource for arts education and research at the university as well as a vital record of the rich history of arts education in Brighton. The Balfour pupils had the chance to play their own part in that history and help others to engage with the public collection.
Marcelo Staricoff, Head Teacher at Balfour Primary School said:
At Balfour Primary School we really value the education of the child as a whole and we are always looking out for opportunities that will contribute to the life experiences of our children and to the enrichment of their education and emotional wellbeing. The school also has a very close link with the University of Brighton and we really enjoy collaborating on many projects during the year. When the idea of collaborating with the Michael Aldrich Foundation first emerged, I was really thrilled as I felt it would be a great way to enrich the experiences of our children, staff and families.
Philippa Aldrich, trustee of the Michael Aldrich Foundation, said
“It was always my late father’s intention that the Aldrich Collection would be accessible to the community and we are delighted to get this opportunity to share this rich resource with the children of Balfour Primary School. We have been delighted by the enthusiastic response we have had from both the school and the local artists and makers who are giving their time and expertise to make this project happen. We are excited to see the final exhibition“ .
The Michael Aldrich Foundation and the University of Brighton hope to raise awareness of the Aldrich Collection and encourage further use of it in schools and colleges in the area.