This post will focus on today’s visit to the NN Contemporary Art Gallery. We were shown around the building by Artistic Director, Catherine Hemelryk and very quickly discovered that this was not a ‘typical’ gallery space. Built in the 1800’s, the building was once home to the Franklins Hotel. The space has a real sense of history and character to it; rather than knocking down walls and eradicating unnecessary doors for practicality, the gallery has made use of them. Catherine explained that the space was very much an on going renovation project (money permitting) nevertheless it is easy to see it has bags of potential.
We were asked to consider how we, as art education practitioners, would use the space. Taking financial budgets and practicality into consideration we discussed creative design ideas that would enthuse and encourage children to explore art. Blackboard paint/ reels of paper hung onto a large wall spaces was suggested by several specialists. The idea behind this was that it would allow children to create on a larger scale; something they may not get the chance to do at home or in the classroom. Although a blackboard wall was suggested, the general consensus of the group was that the space should avoid feeling too much like a classroom. We felt that the environment should feel welcoming and informal for children. We discussed practical storage ideas to make the room adequately functional as well as the importance of having a stimulus for children (music, projections onto the walls, books etc.)
The current exhibition held on the ground floor is by Australian installation artist Pip and Pop, also known as Tanya Schultz. Her on going work can be seen (definitely not missed!) from the street outside, through the large windows of the gallery. As you enter the exhibition space you say goodbye to normality and greet a new world where the landscape is formed by fluid, flamboyant heaps of colour. *Careful watch your step!* Sugar, sand, origami, lights, polystyrene are used in conjunction with vibrant inks, beads and glitter to create a new, technicolour world. Whilst admiring the exhibition I couldn’t help but think how it could be linked with an endless amount of cross curricular topics in schools. A few of us discussed what the exhibition reminded us of; under the sea, Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, landscapes, fairytales were just some of the topics that sprung to mind.
Prior to our NN visit, specialists had researched into resources available through gallery websites. We each brought in a resource of our choice to share with the group and discuss why and how it could be used for learning purposes. Catherine explained that the gallery are hoping to build their own educational resource bank for children and would like us to contribute towards this. We have been given a directed task to create our own resource based around the current exhibition by Pip and Pop. Our resources will then be ‘tried and tested’ on gallery guests which is rather exciting! I feel quite privileged to play a part in such a fantastic exhibition and add to the NN’s resource bank.
I found todays trip to the NN Contemporary Gallery to be very beneficial towards my training to be an art specialist teacher. It made me think about how I would like my own learning space to be presented from both a practical and aesthetic point of view. The research I carried out on educational resources surprised me as I didn’t realise that there was so many available for free. I have found several gallery websites which offer particularly useful resources that I have downloaded to use and adapt in my own classroom. I have included some photographs of the Pip and Pop exhibition below: