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Young Arts in the West Mercia Area is headed up by Lizzie Brett. Below. is a summary of the current state of Societies' activities

Blockley   Young Arts in Blockley have had a most successful year with two visits to Court Barn Museum in Chipping Camden with different classes from Blockley School. The older group worked around a WW1 theme. The society also paid for a potter to work with a younger group. Two girls were also sponsored to enable them to buy equipment to further their careers in art. The society also sponsored a gifted Year 9 pupil from Blockley School to enable him to have some lessons from a famous a famous Japanese artist who is living locally at the moment. I personally visited the exhibition and was most impressed by the work done by the children and  The Arts Society Blockley volunteers who made me feel so welcome.

Brecknock   The society sponsored a final year drama student at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama to the tune of £250 and members attended the graduation ceremony at which Arabella Cordelia Neale was presented with the Sarah Siddons Award for the best female student actress in a classical role. The society still continues to follow the progress of the first recipient of the bursary, Rhys Warmsley; he was one of four actors taking part in a centenary concert for the Welsh Guards on March 15, 2015 in Cardiff and subsequently he was further selected for a master class with Mathew Rhys.

Bristol  Three visits were organised by the City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Dyers stained glass project. The curator outlined the project followed by a hands-on session when pupils were able to handle medieval objects including the oldest  known fragments of medieval glass found in Bristol, pilgrims’ badges, patterned tiles and pottery that would have been manufactured in the city in medieval times. There was also a talk by an expert on the history of the Knights Templar Church and also a guided tour of Bristol Cathedral, looking specifically at the stained glass. A representative also gave a guided tour of the Knights Templar Church and there was also a visit to the Bristol Blue Glass Company and a glass blowing activity. The Bristol Guild also demonstrated how traditional stained glass is made. Pupils cut and made their own glass objects followed by a painting session using ideas based on what they had seen, resulting in the creation of a stained glass window to be unveiled on Nov 24th – St Catherine’s Day – when the Knights Temple Church was bombed.

Cirencester   This summer, the society ran a wonderful day for deaf children in Gloucestershire. Three age groups came together at Barnwood to produce a fabulous collage of their individual boats and, when finished, this will be mounted as a permanent feature at their centre. Youngsters and parents enjoyed a BBQ lunch and it was a very happy and successful day. The society donated £500 to support the event.

Corinium   In 2016 we started an interesting project at Minchinhampton Junior School. A local author was paid to spend a day at the school helping pupils to start writing chapters of a book (he wrote the first chapter) and to illustrate it. When it is completed in Spring 2017 it will be published and sold by a local publishing company.

 The Arts Society Cirencester  and  The Arts Society Corinium are both contributing towards the costs and West Mercia Area have  also made a significant grant towards the costs.

 In 2017 the two societies are sponsoring local schools to make a quilt and a series of mosaic panels which will feature the 900th anniversary of the founding of St. Mary's Abbey in Cirencester. West Mercia Area are also making a financial contribution to this unique Festival.

Evesham  The society awarded two travel bursaries to four students travelling together in pairs to visit a European city of their choice. The students selected were outstanding and demonstrated that the bursary would have a positive impact on their own art practice and course modules. Two boys travelled to Valencia to explore art and architecture and two girls researched art and textiles in Helsinki. They were each awarded £450 and will deliver a short presentation to members in the autumn.

Malvern Hills  The society organised a competition with art work being submitted and judged across a wide range of media. The society contributed £2954 and received an additional £400 from the Patricia Fay Memorial Fund and an anonymous gift of £150. The society is currently liaising with Welland primary school regarding a grant to enable an Arts Week to be held in the autumn term. This will engage all pupils in creating a permanent art ‘product’ for display in the school. A professional artist will lead the event which will be widely advertised locally.

The society is currently liaising with Pendock Primary School regarding a grant to enable an Arts Week, the theme being Flowers of the Field.   A local artist and blacksmith will be involved in this project.

Monmouthshire  Many hours of research, design, consultation, planning and preparation have been put into the creation of a WW1 Commemorative Community Quilt. The final cost was £2500 which included the proceeds of a Christmas raffle organised by the society and a grant of £1500 from the Patricia Fay Memorial Fund. So many design demonstrations and textile techniques were taught. In total, over 130 Year 6 and Year 9 pupils took part. Themes were WW1 trenches, the front line, the role of animals, nurses and poppies. Children learned techniques of embroidery, tie dye, carrot and potato printing, screen printing and felting. The finished quilt will be displayed throughout Monmouthshire and there is the possibility of display at the Eisteddfodd. The Arts Society has been highly promoted in newspaper articles It is shown above to the right..

Painswick  Year 5 and 6 children spent a day in woods and fields behind their school learning how to achieve the best shots of their subjects from a photographic expert. The children then shared and discussed their shots with the whole school and it is hoped that this may lead to a local public exhibition. A further project involved a group of young carers developing models of bird and animals using coloured wire. The society provided lunch and the whole day was so enjoyed by the children, working together and being creative.

Severn Valley  The society are proposing to approach several local primary schools to submit applications for a bursary enabling the chosen school to have a visual arts workshop leading to a permanent installation made by the children under the guidance of a professional artist on a theme of their own choice.

Upper Thames  The society donated £500 to help fund craft work for 60 severely challenged, autistic young people. This included the starting up of a spinning project and helped finance a spinning wheel, tools and materials and other craft essentials. The completed work was exhibited at an open day in June.

West Wales  Young Arts had an article in the August edition of Pembrokeshire Life magazine. The article contained all the details of the 2015 YA project. A competition was organised inviting children to design and make a cut-out card on the theme ‘Skatepark’ using the traditional Japanese art of kirigami. To accompany this, they also wrote a haiku poem in either English or Welsh. The topic lent itself to the learning of different aspects of illustration, developing ideas and encouraging imaginative thought. The society funded the project and the article referred to above included information about The Arts Society and how it promotes the arts and inspires young people with a lasting enthusiasm.

Worcester  The society supported a joint project involving a local high school and a primary school in decorating five unsightly shipping containers used for storage in the grounds of the primary school. The designs were inspired by the work of the Austrian artist Hans Huntertwasser and David Brown, a Birmingham graffiti artist, supervised the painting of the containers. The older pupils worked co-operatively with the primary children, enjoying the practical aspects and responsibilities of working outside together. The final transformation was remarkable leading to much appreciation and praise which helped enormously to boost the children’s self esteem. Next term will see the opening ceremony and a presentation by the pupils at a society meeting.