Kate Middleton Joins Children & the Arts

Duchess of Cambridge and Prince of Wales engage young artists in Dulwich

Kate Middleton along with Prince Charles, President of The ‘Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts’, explored the work of his educational Charity at a special project visit this week, held at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The Duchess of Cambridge who has a personal interest in the arts and supporting young children, and The Prince of Wales is taking this opportunity to show the successful educational work of ‘Children & the Arts Great Art Quest’, sponsored by investment managers GAM (UK) Ltd. The project introduces children to the visual arts by partnering them with local galleries, professional artists and storytellers and by providing them with the skills and confidence to create their own works. Dulwich Picture Gallery is one of just four galleries selected by Children & the Arts to take part in Great Art Quest.

The Royal group, were accompanied by Rick Wills, Chairman, The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts (Children & the Arts), and Ian Dejardin, The Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, met with school children participating in Great Art Quest, a project run by Children & the Arts at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The Prince of Wales established Children & the Arts to allow young people who would otherwise have had no, or limited opportunity to access and engage with professional arts.  It was set up in 2002 as a pilot scheme and became an independent charity in 2006. Since 2006 Children & the Arts has used the arts to help inspire over 100,000 children, in particular enabling personal and social development among those children hardest to reach through mainstream education.

120 children, aged 8-11, from Goodrich Community School in East Dulwich, Langbourne Primary School, St Luke’s CofE Primary School in Dulwich, and the Globe Academy in Southwark have been working with a textile artist and a storyteller to create their own art based on Dulwich Picture Gallery’s collection of Old Master paintings. The project marries paintings, poems and songs with visual arts to encourage pupils to think about their own personal journeys and stories. The series of creative sessions inspired the children to create an artistic response to the themes of family, identity and journey.

The Royal repersentitives spoke to the children,  artists and storytellers involved with the project, and heard from the children’s teachers how the project has benefited their learning and personal development. Their Royal Highnesses were also invited to see a special exhibition of the children’s works introduced by the children themselves.

Gillian Wolfe, Director of Learning and Public Affairs at Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: “As a gallery, we have a long-standing commitment to arts education and to helping young people access and engage in the arts.  It was an honour to be selected by Children & the Arts as one of four host galleries for this year’s Great Art Quest. The valuable support gained as a participant in the project has enabled us to expand our Schools programme dedicated to providing opportunities for long-term, in-depth participation for high-quality creative outcomes. Over the last few months we have seen the impact the project has had on local children’s confidence and enthusiasm for the arts, and we are delighted to have been able to showcase their work to our Royal visitors.”
The Gallery’s chosen theme of family, identity and journey was inspired by Face Britain, the latest Children & the Arts project and the UK’s largest mass collaborative art project involving 4-16 year olds from right across the UK producing self-portraits. The self-portraits produced by the children as part of  Great Art Quest  will be combined with thousands of others to create a special montage image of HM The Queen that will be projected on to the front of Buckingham Palace in April to herald the start of the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The portraits will also be displayed on the official London 2012 BBC Live Sites in city centres as well as over 400 screens in shopping centres and train stations across the UK.

Face Britain will also attempt to establish a new Guinness World Record for ‘the most artists working on the same art installation’. Celebrated contemporary painter and sculptor, Maggi Hambling was introduced to Their Royal Highnesses as they toured the children’s works. Miss Hambling explained her involvement as a patron of Face Britain and discussed the purpose behind the project.
Jeremy Newton, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts was delighted that The Prince of Wales was able to introduce The Duchess of Cambridge to the work of the Charity:  “Our President, The Prince of Wales, is dedicated to giving young people the opportunity to discover their talents and to gain the self-esteem to use them. With that mission in mind we have been changing the lives of children for the past six years. This isn’t art for arts sake but a chance to engage with children at an early enough age so that they can use the arts as a way to develop skills, abilities and the confidence that will be of a practical and personal benefit to them throughout their lives.”

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