From the small pilot programme set up in 2012 by Lilian Pickin, YA representative at the time for Huntingdon DFAS, the collaborative project between the Huntingdon Arts Society and Hinchingbrooke Hospital has flourished. There are now 15 local primary schools and 4 secondary schools involved with this number increasing all the time. Money is raised internally from the Huntingdon Arts Society members who each donate via a £1 levy per person on visits.
We are a very cheerful small group and would like to be a much bigger group, so we could get even more schools involved. The job is not onerous, our volunteers act as couriers between two or three local schools close to where they live. Basically, it involves collecting and returning about 10 – 15 paintings once a term from each of the two or three schools they are involved with. It is the success of the volunteers, each of whom develops a personal involvement with their schools that explains the sustainability of the project. Thank you to all who give their time and expertise freely. Now in its sixth year, the links between hospital and surrounding schools are stronger than ever and requests are being made to utilise the established network of volunteers to introduce and support several other projects. Feedback from the corridor art collection is excellent from many visitors, patients and staff recognising the ability of the children’s art to raise a smile or start a conversation in an otherwise stark and clinical environment. We were particularly touched when a member of staff from the children’s unit asked if we could provide paintings for the room where parents are given bad news. To further emphasise the value to the community a hospital inspector praised the hospital for this joint project and suggested other hospitals should follow suit.
If you are interested please e-mail or ring Margaret Gledhill, contact details are on your membership card and she will be happy to talk to you any time and/or see you after one of our lectures.
Some areas of the hospital have commissioned work from the schools. Design of logos has been a particularly productive line, most recently displayed by the successful competition to design a logo for the hospital restaurant, named the Garden Restaurant. Two nine year old boys from one of the local primary schools produced the design which was then transformed into a professional and reproducible format as shown below:
The boys and their school were delighted to receive a ceramic plate each decorated with the design which is now in use in the restaurant.
Congratulations to Jill, our Area Young Arts lead who was honoured in 2016 by the Marsh Christian Trust, in cooperation with the Arts Society for her work in Young Arts for which she was praised for her outstanding contribution.
We have three main projects each year. Our biggest and continuous project is the work we do between schools and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, where we adorn the long white corridor walls that all hospitals have, with art from pre-school to ‘A’ level students. Every level has its own charms, the younger children’s efforts often bringing a smile to everyone’s face, to the breath-taking talent displayed by some top Juniors and Secondary school work.
The benefits are multiple, every young person who has their work exhibited grows in confidence. The teachers and schools get the opportunity to show what they can do. It also helps school to show they are working with the community some to achieve the ‘Art Mark’ others using the evidence in their Ofsted submission. The hospital staff tell us how much it lifts patients, visitors and themselves to see what our talented children and schools are producing. Specific areas have asked us to provide more display areas, in quiet areas for breaking bad news on some wards, and in the Woodlands cancer unit extension.
A big thank you to the late Ros Neugebauer who came up with the idea to raise money for The Woodland Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and a small amount for Young Arts. It is certainly something that has become a cherished part of our activities. This year we have had printed 10 paintings from the Cambridge Young Artists Competition which are already proving a great success from the way the sales have gone from visitors to the exhibition, for some, a second print run has been necessary as our sales at the signing in desk are going well!
Some examples made into notelets (above)
The Cambridge Area Young Artists Competition
Over the next 12 months, the volunteers will be supporting the Cambridgeshire Area Young Artists competition(CAYAC) for primary and secondary schools where prizes are awarded to each Key Stage, 0-5, with a special prize for best in show for both Primary and Secondary Schools.
The Royal Society of British Artists
We also participate in the annual competition hosted by The Arts Society with the Royal Association of British Artists (RBA) and The Arts Society. This competition is for the 17 to 18 age group and results in the selected paintings being shown at the Mall Gallery in London. To our delight three entries from local schools were selected for this year’s exhibition. Two exhibits, Funghi and the portrait Rosie, were selected from Sawtry Village Academy and Playground Games was chosen from Kimbolton School. Congratulations to the schools and sixth-formers whose talent has been recognised in this national competition.