A POPULAR schools exhibition has come to Worthing for the first time.
Celebrating the heritage of the South Downs, the Our Place exhibition brings a collection of artworks to Worthing Museum and Art Gallery for four months.
The annual schools exhibition is usually on show at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne but this year, it has been expanded to cover Worthing and the surrounding area.
Working in partnership with the South Downs National Park, the museum has joined Towner and the Flora Twort Gallery, Petersfield, as well as schools across Hampshire and Sussex, to draws on the rich resources of the National Park as inspiration.
Curator Emma Walder said: “We are lucky in the south east to have the South Downs on our doorstep, and what better way for schoolchildren to explore this rich natural heritage through arts and culture?”
Students were invited to look at the built heritage of the South Downs and works taken from the museum collections for inspiration. They then created small-scale buildings for the exhibition, as well as paintings and collages.
Speaking at the launch on Thursday, Andy Beattie from the South Downs National Parks Authority, said: “It is great to get the children out and about in the local area, taking inspiration from the wonderful views they see. They join a long list of artists over the years who have used the special qualities of the South Downs.
“How much more inspiration there is when teachers take the trouble to get children out in the countryside and let them sense it, feel it and see it for themselves.”
Year-five pupils at Chesswood Middle School, in Chesswood Road, Worthing, took part in a workshop with Creative Waves artists Vanessa Breen and Nadia Chalk. They used views from the Southern Pavilion on Worthing Pier to inspire pictures made use watercolours, wax, salt and pencil.
Nadia also worked with three and four-year-olds at Woodstock Day Nursery, in Farncombe Road, Worthing. They created wild flowers made from recycled materials, designed to live outside and sway in the wind.
Meanwhile, at Nadia’s Art Club, youngsters aged eight to 16 painted on wood and explored the idea of trees being wooden sculptures in open spaces.
At Lyndhurst First School Art Club, children aged six to eight created their own interpretations of the south coast on acetate. The result was images that look different from every angle, as the light highlights different aspects through the acetate.
Eight-year-old member Kadey Pearce said he had included birds and a lighthouse in his picture.
“We used pastels to colour it in but we had limited colours available,” he explained.
Artist Sarah Sepe’s group Krafty Kids at the Community House, based in Dominion Road, East Worthing, looked at the sky, countryside, town, beach and sea.
Sarah said: “The children have explored the different downland environments and and have each considered both who and what lives there to create this installation of small paintings.”
She said they had been on a group walk across the South Downs to Tilgate Park in Crawley for inspiration.
Year-three pupils at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School, Derwent Drive, Worthing, took photographs of places of interest on a school trip, then created art in the style of famous artists.
Amberley First School Photography Club, meanwhile, used their photographs of Arundel Castle to build a model of the castle, complete with knights.
Year four at Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School made a den by creating a large painting on fabric, then shredding it and weaving it into withy uprights.
At Davison High School, two year-nine classes looked at old photographs of Worthing to see how the town has changed, then made a tower from card. It featured a series of dioramas depicting different architectural styles around Worthing, creating the illusion of space from layers.
The exhibition opened at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, Chapel Road, Worthing, on Saturday and will be in the upstairs gallery until Saturday, September 19.