A unique project that brought together 45 schools and 2,407 school children from Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex to create art work inspired by the South Downs National Park will culminate in a special exhibition this summer.
Our School Downs Exhibition is the largest yet thanks to a partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority and charity Learning Through Landscapes that has enabled schools across the South East to engage in unique cultural and outdoor learning opportunities.
Pupils have collaborated to produce artwork for the exhibition inspired by works chosen from Towner’s Collection that feature locations in the South Downs National Park including artists Harold Mockford, Jem Southam, Eric Ravilious, Louisa Catherine Paris and Alfred Fitzwalter Grace.
In the exhibition, the Collection art works will be shown alongside the schools’ artwork and work by young people's groups at the Towner Gallery, giving a multitude of perspectives on the inspiring landscape that surrounds us.
Schools have been able to see the works first-hand at the gallery or use online teaching resources that have been specially created to support exploration of both the art and the outdoor locations.
This Spring, several schools from Sussex took their pupils to Birling Gap, Beachy Head, Seven Sisters and Cuckmere Haven, Lewes, Ditching and Arundel to be inspired by the natural environment in the National Park.
Our School Downs Exhibition is the fifth annual schools exhibition that Towner has organised since the new building opened in April 2009. Towner’s award-winning work with children and young people and adults, including young offenders, people with learning difficulties and disabilities and older people, is at the heart of the organisation’s work.
Clare Halstead, Learning and Outreach Manager, said, “The Our South Downs Exhibition is a brilliant example of how partnership working can benefit an even greater number of children and young people to develop an appreciation of the rich artistic, environmental and cultural heritage we have here in Sussex. We are also delighted to have the Argus newspaper as our media sponsor, which will help us engage even more families and parents. We can’t wait to see the final results of what is going to be an amazing exhibition of original art works.”
Amanda Elmes, who leads on Learning, Volunteering and Outreach at the South Downs National Park said: “It’s always exciting to find new ways that teachers can use the National Park to inspire their students across the entire curriculum. The South Downs is such a great resource and it’s been wonderful to work with Towner to help teachers use their collections and our landscapes together. I can’t wait to see the results go on display.”
The Argus is the official media sponsor of Our School Downs Exhibition.