Kirkby Collaborative of Schools partnership with the Kirkby Gallery
Over the last four years the Kirkby Gallery has worked proactively in partnership with the Kirkby Collaborative of Schools to extend the opportunities for education through art. We want to place the Gallery at the heart of the creative curriculum in our schools.
Schools are assisted in their visits to the Gallery by Teachers First preview events, resource packs, a gallery classroom and the support of Knowsley arts staff and volunteers during the visits. Teachers First events have been led by Tina Ball (Culture Development & Events Officer ) and also, where possible, the artist or curator of collections.
The role of the Kirkby Gallery in the development of art within our school communities has also been extended through a successful art loan scheme and the development of the mini museums project ( see other posts on this website ).
One of the exciting elements of arriving at a Kirkby Gallery exhibition is seeing how the works are laid out – never is the gallery space the same. In each one the team creates an innovative and very successful classroom within the exhibition space.
The stunning exhibitions have given school children in Kirkby the opportunity to access original works by many world famous artists. The gallery has developed links with other prestigious galleries and collections around the country including two Arts Council touring exhibitions, the Hepworth, Ashmolean and Hayward galleries, reiterating the international quality of the Kirkby Gallery.
The stunning range of world class exhibitions in the Gallery space that have been accessed by Kirkby schools include:
Willy Russell – behind the scenes – celebrating the life and work of Willy Russell.
New Worlds ( Arts Council tour ) – taking its inspiration from the era that Kirkby as a New Town was built, the 1960’s. The exhibition presented a range of leading British artists and makers who best represent that energetic period of creativity. The artists, included David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield, Elisabeth Frink, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, Bridget Riley, Henry Moore, Mary Martin, Eduardo Paolozzi, Frank Auerbach, Gillian Ayres, Albert Irvin, Bryan Kneale, Terry Frost, John Hoyland, Mark Boyle, Garth Evans, Margaret Lovell and Barbara Hepworth.
Crafted – A biennial exhibition of contemporary craft, design and fine art.
Drawn from Life – People on Paper ( Arts Council tour )– This exhibition brought together some of the finest drawings in the Arts Council Collection, with work on display from Moore, Hepworth, Lowry and Hockney.
Pirates Pants and Wellyphants – celebrating the life of illustrator Nick Sharratt
Panorama – a stunning exhibition of photographs of people and places from across Knowsley. The photographs came from entrants to the SPACES 2 wellbeing photography competition.
Another Aspect – Willy Russell – First ever solo exhibition of playwright Willy Russell’s paintings
Winds of Change – Liverpool based photographic artist Tony Mallon worked in collaboration with a group of older women from Northwood in Kirkby, who are part of the Golden Year’s group.
Approaching Thunder (Hepworth, Wakefield) – Drawn from The Hepworth Wakefield’s outstanding collection of 1940s British works on paper including works by John Piper Graham Sutherland, Edward Bawden and Henry Moore.
Northern Stone and Peat Smoke’, Anthony Ratcliffe – a collection of his work in printmaking, pencil and watercolour.
Made on Merseyside – a reflective exhibition celebrating industrial heritage in Knowsley and Merseyside.
Collaborative schools have steadily increased the number of school visits from small beginnings during the first Willy Russell exhibition.
The most successful exhibitions in terms of visits by Kirkby children include:
- Willy Russell Another aspect – 438 visits by school children
- Panorama – 931
- Drawn from Life – 1118
- Nick Sharratt – 1656
The success of the relationship between the Kirkby Collaborative and the Kirkby Gallery was recognised at the 2016 Knowsley Sports and Cultural Awards where the Kirkby Collaborative won the School Cultural Educational Achievement of the Year.
The Kirkby Collaborative of Schools wish to thank the Gallery team and the many volunteers for all their work in commissioning and bringing the exhibitions to life here in Kirkby. Also thanks Knowsley Council for their financial support in enabling us to have such a cultural offer with Kirkby.
The Kirkby Gallery enables international art to be accessible to everyone in the community. It also enables local artists to exhibit in the gallery space. Most recently it has supported children and adults to learn more about themselves as artists by hosting practical art workshops.
Kirkby Collaborative schools look forward to continuing to develop the projects and links with the international Gallery that we are so fortunate to have in the town.