I had the pleasure of spending a morning in the BirminghamSchool of Art to see the possibilities of making high quality large silk screen prints with master printmaker Justin Saunders. This was the day after the Creative Industries Federation event where I gave a keynote speech. One thread of the speech was to recognise and back young creatives working in all genres. Their creativity will bring new insights and techniques to the fore and with their contemporary entrepreneurial spirit will bring individual and collective rewards to the art gallery as well as the digital world we all inhabit.
Head of School John Butler, had been in the CIF audience and we caught up when I arrived in the Margaret Street Art School. He mentioned he had a clash the previous night as there had been an opening of the South Birmingham Network of secondary Schools exhibition. Not having heard about this show I asked what it was. It is a show of school students GCSE art class work from across South Birmingham that takes over the degree show space.
These school shows have been supported for the last 4 years following John’s arrival at Margaret Street from Bournville College of Art in South Birmingham.
I went to see the show and was so impressed with the breadth and quality of draughtsmanship, painting and making that I am moved to write about it, with a hope that next year’s show will get pre publicity and recognition of the young artists in the city.
On why this showing of schools work is important John Butler said : We want to support the continued delivery of art education at all levels as it is under serious threat particularly at Schools with the emphasis on STEM subjects. This is so damaging to young people who should have a balanced learning experience enabling them to think and make creatively. Also the extension to include the North Network is more about widening participation trying to get a more diverse student body studying at the School to better reflect the communities of Birmingham. This is a mutually supportive collaboration giving young people the opportunity to present work in a professional environment and experiencing workshops presented by professional artists.
Franziska Schenk liases with the schools and works with them to hang the shows and invited me to see North Network which was as impressive as south. These shows are testament to the cities’ aspiring talent and deserves this recognition.