A Splash of Blue / Steall Ghorm


Last year, the current Ms Cogan's 5th class were lucky to be chosen to take part in a very exciting art project. The project was steered by Kids Own Publishing on behalf of the Mayo County Council art collection for schools, and the objective was to create a resource that could be used by school children to respond to the Mayo County Council art collection.

Under the wonderful guidance of the award winning artist Kiera O' Toole, the class went on a journey of exploration about what it means to be a curator of art, and how to think more deeply about art. Throughout the project, Ciara Gallagher from Kids Own Publishing audio recorded and photographed the girls as they responded to the art collection, and documented their ideas, drawings and artwork.

In one of the first sessions, a classroom in the school was turned into an art gallery, with all of the artworks from the Mayo County Council art collection for schools displayed. (Thanks to Aoife O' Toole from the Mayo County Council, and Kiera and Ciara for setting it up) The children walked from artwork to artwork and were shown by Kiera, how to think more deeply when responding to an artwork. For example, they learned to consider how the artwork made them feel, what medium was used to create the artwork, who they thought created the artwork, what the subject of the artwork was and so on.

From this large collection of artworks the class curated their own selection for exhibition in our school. Then they responded more deeply to these artworks. The class thoroughly enjoyed the session where they responded to the curated selection by creating their own individual pieces of art. They were given creative licence to use any materials, canvases or mediums that they wanted and the classroom was a hive of wonderful activity that day. Their teachers were amazed by the amount of abstract art that the students created, when given a carte blanche, as this is a genre of art that is not explored much in primary schools.In addition, they created their own titles for the artworks before finding out all about the real titles of the artworks and about the artists that created them.

The project taught the students to think more deeply about artworks, and to be more experimental and free when creating their own art. Although the last 4 sessions of the project were interrupted by the Coronavirus Schools Closure in March 2020, the girls didn't let that stop them and they moved online to Zoom video sessions to finish the project instead.

It was then over to KidsOwn to collate all of the children's work and responses to create the final publication, and the class are beyond thrilled with the result. The publication is a child and teacher friendly resource that can be used in other primary schools in Mayo to help them to explore the collection in their own unique way. The students and teachers who took part in the project, as well as the rest of the St. Angela's NS community are incredibly proud of the resource.

We are hugely thankful to Ciara Gallagher, from Kids Own publications, Aoife O' Toole from the Mayo County Council and Kiera O' Toole, the artist for giving the girls the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful project and for making it all possible. The girls and their teachers Ms Walker, Ms Finan and Ms Mulligan thoroughly enjoyed working on the project and we have all learned so much about art and responding to artworks thanks to this fantastic experience.

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