Pupils draw out plans for new art installation with Dearne Valley artist

17 October 2017

Artwork by pupils in the Dearne Valley will form part of a new art installation designed to reconnect people to the River Dearne.

Barnsley-based artist Louise Wright is working with schoolchildren from Wombwell Park Street Primary School to gather ideas for a mixed media textile mural, which will be unveiled to the public in January 2018.

The installation is part of a wider project called ‘Art of the Dearne’, delivered by The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP) to help reconnect communities to the river. 

During research workshops with Louise, the children have been identifying animals through pond dipping and bird watching at RSPB Old Moor, in Wombwell. Follow-up sessions in the classroom have involved sketching and print work, which will be used in the final piece.

Louise has lived near to the River Dearne in Barnsley for several years and the surrounding countryside has become a strong focal point within her work.

She said: “The Art of the Dearne project has given me the opportunity to explore the area in a different way, taking a closer look at the biodiversity of the river.

“Working with the children has been extremely rewarding and it was great to see their enthusiasm. This project is particularly exciting and different because the finished piece very much depends on their input.

“One of the highlights for me was encouraging them to become ‘young explorers’ of their surroundings. They were particularly taken by the bittern, a wading bird which has only recently started breeding in the area again.”

Louise Longden, deputy headteacher at Park Street Primary School, said: “The project and opportunity to visit RSPB Old Moor has allowed pupils to cover aspects of the science curriculum in a really rich and meaningful way.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring and taking the time to observe and appreciate plants and animals along the River Dearne. This has formed the stimulus for some fabulous artwork that we are looking forward to developing further as part of a class exhibition. The class has found working with Louise and sharing her passion for art very inspirational.”

Earlier this year, Louise Wright was commissioned by the DVLP to create artwork in response to the landscape, along with two other successful artists and an artist partnership in a new scheme called ‘Art of the Dearne’.

As well as working with local schoolchildren, she will be providing art workshops for families and individuals, providing a collective response from over 100 individuals.

A family nature workshop will take place on 2 November from 10:30am to 12:30pm and at 1:30pm to 3:00pm at RSPB Old Moor in Barnsley. A printing workshop will also take place for adults on 11 November at Elsecar Heritage Centre in Barnsley from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

To book your free place on one of the workshops, please call 01226 772414 or email DVLP@barnsley.gov.uk. For more information on the Art of the Dearne project and workshops visit www.discoverdearne.org.uk

The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership is a five-year scheme, running until June 2019, which focuses on the historic buildings and landscapes of the Dearne Valley. The DVLP is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Follow the ‘Art of the Dearne’ scheme on Twitter using the hashtag #artofthedearne and at @DiscoverDearne.

Notes to editor

Image shows children from Wombwell Park Street Primary School at RSPB Old Moor

Media contact: Charlotte Goldthorpe at Capital B Media on 01226 766900 or at charlotte@capitalbmedia.co.uk

The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership

The lead partner of the The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership is Barnsley Council with a partnership that includes Rotherham and Doncaster Councils, the RSPB, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Garganey Trust and Groundwork South Yorkshire. The DVLP is part of Barnsley Museums & Heritage Services and is based at Elsecar Heritage Centre.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery @HLFYandH

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more information, please visit www.capitalbmedia.co.uk

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