The Art of Lockdown
Redbrook Church hosted a wonderful exhibition of children’s artwork from the 29thAug to the 20thSept.
The “Art of Lockdown” Exhibition showcased work that had been created by the children of Redbrook and Llandogo as part of the Art Angels project, organised and led by a volunteer team of Mari Hutchings, Karen Rea and Claudia Peake.
Art Angels began in the village of Llandogo. Mari explains:
“As Lockdown began we had the idea that we might cheer up our community with a message of hope. The children’s first idea was to make a large sign. They chose the message inspired by the Queen’s speech ‘we will meet again’. Redbrook Art Angels started when Claudia joined the team.”
Art Angels is open to all and free. Across the two villages 35 children aged 3 to 15 were involved. They met weekly online using Zoom. Karen delivered Art materials to children’s houses in Llandogo and Redbrook set up collection stations in the village for families to access materials. During the ZOOM sessions, Mari and Claudia would introduce a new material/ technique and set a mini project – Parents were encourage to support their own children at home and send in photos or scans of children’s work to be shared with the whole group the following session – thus celebrating achievement each week. Over the many weeks children were progressively introduced to a wide range of materials including pastels, brusho inks, acrylic paint, watercolours, decoupage, photography, collage, paper marbling and tie-dye.
“ It was a lovely thing to do to relax and be calm during lockdown and I found it a great way to connect with friends” (Archie).
“ I love trying new styles I have never thought of before, art makes me smile” (Lilly).
“Art Angels was a real ray of light for us during lockdown. I loved the thoughtful weekly art suggestions for all ages and generous amounts of paint supplies and gifts! Having recently moved to Redbrook this was a lovely way to connect with the community too. Thank you so much.” (parent)
“ We have had so much fun getting creative. It has saved our lockdown sanity! It has been brilliant seen the joy and colour Art Angels has brought to Redbrook” (Sarah, parent)
Another village resident, Richard Stoddard built an outdoor gallery by the children’s playground, so that the work could be enjoyed by the village community and the children made a beautiful sign “keep smiling” which was fixed to the village green fence.
The exhibition celebrated the many achievements of the children. Original works and printed pieces were professionally displayed by Mari and Claudia. Bunting and signs were created and children’s pictures on circles of wood were fixed to fence posts outside.
Mari describes how the inside of the church was transformed for the exhibition:
“Some of the families cleaned, others brought vases of flowers.
Everyone seemed to feel it was their church. It was such a joy to see how incredibly proud the children were, they loved showing their work to friends and family. Archie gave guided tours, which delighted visitors. We had become closer as a community and we could look back at all the things we achieved during Lockdown; each work of art representing a point in that history. This was a moment when it became clear we had done God’s work.”
Over 200 people visited the exhibition. Sue Sparkes, Parish churchwarden, was one of them:
“I found it inspirational. It was a really good project: very inventive, creative and well structured. The activities were wide ranging and well adapted to the lockdown situation; linking with the wider local community. It gave skills & ideas that children could continue to use. The exhibition brought people into a church space that was ideal for the activity. There was a very welcoming atmosphere with tea, cakes and chat outside. I was fascinated to hear about how they had done it, and went away inspired to try some things myself ”.
Redbrook Art Angels continue to meet weekly via Zoom , as well as continual creative projects the Art Angels are planning on filming a Covid Safe Nativity, which will include tie-dye costumes and onsite filming at Jamie’s Farm in Redbrook. They hope to work together with Redbrook Primary School as part of the filming.