Early in 2012 B.D.F.A.S. YOUNG ARTS representatives SHEILA BATES and SUE ROACHE sent out letters to three schools in our area inviting the Head of Arts to suggest a way of spending £500 on an art- based project which would benefit their school.
We wanted to make it a competition, and gave them a few weeks to come up with suggestions. We set a definite deadline and sat back and awaited a response.
The results were a contradiction of negative and positive.
From one school, after several letters and e-mails we were told that the Head of Art was about to take maternity leave and her replacement wasn’t in the job yet.
They declined the invitation to take part, but told us they would be interested at a more convenient time.
From another school, after various e-mails and letters, which were carefully delivered to the school office, we received nil response.
Then we came to the third school. The Maltings Academy Witham. The pupils of this school are very fortunate to have a recently completed, brand new school. It is built on the site of the old pre-war school building.
Mrs Hayley Lee is the Head of Art at Maltings Academy. We have had contact with her in previous years. She is a very energetic and supportive teacher who is always looking for ways to encourage her students. Her reply, by e-mail, was immediate” We are desperate for some especially made display boards for our beautiful new art department. Without the boards we won’t be able to have our end of year art exhibition.” Hayley concluded by saying that she was well aware that there were others with equally worthy causes to be considered. Little did she realise that this was her lucky day!!
Sheila Bates and I thought that this was an excellent project. We took it forward to our committee who thought likewise. We were impressed by the way Hayley Lee had supported us in previous Young Arts events. Her enthusiasm for her job is very evident.
We gave her the good news and she was so happy! The Principal of Maltings Academy then approved extra funding, and this meant that she could now order the special display boards.
A company was found who produce special display boards. This company had already made boards for the Chelsea Arts School, Harrods, and had completed work for HMS Belfast.
The boards were made in four days. They are a very strong, light- weight, cardboard material, secured by especially designed safety clips. Hayley told us that safety was a very crucial consideration when designing the boards because of where they would be used within the school. The company “pulled out all the stops” to get them completed on time.
On 21st June four members of BDFAS were invited to the end of year exhibition.
We have attended end of year exhibitions in the old school building. I think we were all amazed when we walked into the new school building. My first thought was “lucky children”. It is a really inspiring environment.
The display boards looked very impressive hung with high-quality work. There was also space for sculptures to be displayed at their best. The boards were situated in the centre of a very light and airy corridor, and they seemed to stretch a very long way. They are easily dismantled. Some will be left as permanent display areas throughout the year. During the evening we were also invited into the new performing space to watch the presentations for achievement.
Another reason for our invitation to the exhibition was to select some work to be put forward to NADFAS for possible selection for the Mall Galleries exhibition in February next year. This is a competition for A- level students. BDFAS have put forward works for consideration for the past three years. No luck yet, but this year we could be lucky!
What an enjoyable evening we had. ! Happy and confident pupils, who were willing to talk about aspects of their work, escorted us around and offered us refreshments. A sophisticated evening spent in a beautiful light-filled building. It was also very good to see such enthusiastic family support for the pupils. Very uplifting!