Published 10.02.2022
by Kids’ Own

Really Here: virtual artist-in-residence project

We are excited to have started a new virtual artist-in-residence programme ‘Really Here’ that will run from January to June 2022. This project builds on long-term relationships we have nurtured between schools and our Associate Artists during our Virtually There programme.

In this collaborative arts project, Kids’ Own Associate Artists Ann Henderson, Ann Donnelly and Sharon Kelly are working creatively with schools in Northern Ireland on a weekly basis. The project is taking place primarily online, with occasional physical visits by the artist to the school. The creative sessions are hosted by the class teacher and the artist, and support the children to work creatively and collaboratively through process- and enquiry-based approaches that expose them to professional art practices, while also supporting their learning through many cross-curricular strands.

The first school to start is St Patrick’s primary school in Crossmaglen, working with teacher Fionnuala Hughes and Associate Artist Sharon Kelly. So far, they have participated in 5 creative sessions and the students have decided to explore ideas around ‘support’. This starting point arose from their first encounter with Sharon when she showed them around her studio in Belfast. She had some sculpture pieces that were constructed torsos from textiles, that needed a lot of support whilst making them.

Chalk hand drawing from Really Here children's art project with Kids' Own
Punched hole drawing with light streaming through

Since then, the group have been exploring the notion of an artist’s support, looking at traditional supports like canvas and paper. As a special treat, artist Clement McAleer came to one of the sessions and showed the children how he prepared his supports for stretching canvas over wooden frames. He also spoke to the children about working in a fabric dyeing factory before he became an artist.

The group is investigating other traditional ways of working on surfaces and has even made their own paint by grinding coloured chalks and adding egg yolks, to make Egg Tempera! Other explorations have taken them into the realm of colour theory itself. Through experimentation, they found that colours can seem different when they are seen on different backgrounds or supports.

In their most recent session, they explored how light affected the way we see things – using translucent and opaque supports, layering drawings to read things differently. They explored alternative means of making marks or drawing using skewers or pencils to punch holes and allowing the light visible through the paper to create lines, patterns, shapes.

We can’t wait to see what they get up to next!