Amazing Art’s Kool produces outstanding work

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Amazing Art’s Kool produces outstanding work

An Arts Festival set up and organised by one woman has been described as ‘incredible’ and ‘a wonderful mix of ideas’ by some of the 200 visitors who saw an instant exhibition of 80 pieces of artwork from young people aged 8-18. Art’s Kool is a unique, new Art’s Festival which encourages young people to explore their creativity to the full.

The stunning winning piece was a crinoline dress made of hammered out drinks cans and “fanned” magazine pages. The artist, 15 year old Bryony Parkinson received £150 in cash and a specially commissioned glass trophy, The Nancy McCulloch Memorial Award. Another stunning entry was from 13 year old Milly Light who produced an intricate and quite beautiful ‘Little Owl’ made entirely of old jewellery and watch parts.

Jan Harvey, a writer and artist, set up Art’s Kool in November last year when she lost her job as Editor of a business magazine owing to cut backs.

‘I had always had the idea of an arts festival for young people in the back of my mind, ‘says Jan. ‘I was becoming concerned that so many youngsters were hiding away in their bedrooms with computer games and addictive social networking that art as I knew it when I was a child, ie working with materials and expressing creativity just for the sake of it, was becoming a thing of the past. I thought that if Art’s Kool could engage these young people and we could provide a forum to show their work to their public we would be achieving something very special.’

Art’s Kool was launched in February with 33 hand picked Ambassadors invited and tasked with spreading the word. Jan thought it would be a simple objective to tell teachers across the county about Art’s Kool and that entries would come in thick and fast.

‘I was wrong!’ she says. ‘Schools did not engage with the concept at all I have no idea why but teachers simply did not respond.’ This made promoting the festival much harder and Jan found her solutions in Internet sites, social networking and through local Radio.

‘Without the help of Malcolm Boyden at Radio Oxford we would have struggled to get our message out.’ Jan explains. ‘I actually went into the studio and gave Malcolm a drawing lesson. He drew a fish in charcoal that we made into a prize draw on the day. It was great fun.’

By the start of May there were only two entries for the competitions and Jan was wondering if it was all worth it! ‘Luckily, I have good friends who convinced me that everything would be alright and that not everyone is as organised as me, nor as obsessed with the project and thinking that far ahead!’

Those friends were right and by mid May the entries were coming in thick and fast. The standards being achieved were astonishing, far exceeding Jan’s expectations. When the deadline came on 31 May over 50 entries had been received and the team of judges were very impressed. They all agreed that the standard was very high and it had been hard deciding on the eight competitions winners.

The Festival took place on 11 June with five workshops in the morning (including figure drawing led by Jan) and an instant exhibition from 2-5pm in the afternoon. The venue that had been used for teaching from 9am-noon was transformed into an exhibition space in just two hours flat with work framed and displayed as soon as it was completed.

‘The whole space was charged with a creative energy as egg boxes and old telephones were transformed into intricate and witty sculptures and excellent drawings were being produced by people as young as eight. There was intense concentration all round and the tutors were superb in bringing out talent in young people who enjoyed every minute,’ says Jan.

Sarah Fitzgerald of Witney said, “My daughter, Rhiannon has had a fabulous day, she learnt how to draw from a life model and then enjoyed the food and fun of the festival before seeing her work on display in the exhibition. She then found out that her snake had won the Snazzy PDF class and she was thrilled. A great day, superbly organised and geared around creativity and fun.’

The festival was sponsored by The Rooflight Company who made the event possible. ‘It is important to us that we support our local community and when Jan approached us with her idea we felt that this was a perfect opportunity to support an innovative and exciting new project,’ adds Paul Herbert, Managing Director of the Rooflight Company. ‘It was extremely worthwhile and a great success.’

The eight competitions were sponsored by the following local businesses:

Carden Interiors

Vicon Motion Systems

Rapture

Howdens Joinery

Foxbury Farm

Office Organiser

And, the Rooflight Company

Posted : 14/06/2011 13:47:48

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