West Midlands Art Masterclass – visit by Ockbrook School

A group of A Level and GCSE students from Ockbrook School in Derbyshire took part in a hands-on art and sculpture masterclass led by expert artists at The New Art Gallery Walsall in the West Midlands.


The £21m New Art Gallery Walsall opened in February 2000 to national acclaim and was nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize. It is home to over 1,500 sculptures, paintings and prints.


On arrival we had a 30 minute guided walk and talk around the gallery, which really helped us to get our bearings. For some of us it was the first time we’d seen masterpieces by leading artists such as Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso.


It was then a case of rolling up our sleeves and taking part in an amazing practical 3D sculpture workshop, involving casting in plaster. The workshop was an integral part of our students’ studies, encouraging discussion and rejuvenating ideas of their own art through viewing other artists’ work.


Year 12 student, Olivia Brown said: “The day itself was amazing. It was really thought-provoking, encouraging us to see past just the colours on a page. I loved the workshop and learned some new techniques that I hope to use in my own work.


“The gallery is stunning and getting to see Van Gogh’s ‘Sorrow’ drawing up close was also very exciting, as there are only two of these in the world!”


Catherine James, from the Gallery, said: “Taking students out of the classroom and into the inspiring space that we enjoy at the New Walsall Art Gallery is a great way of stimulating the creative juices.


“I hope the group from Ockbrook left with the understanding that art is for absolutely everyone to enjoy and that there is so much more to it than just looking at paintings, pictures and sculptures. Questioning art leads to discussions, which helps with confidence in public speaking.”


We’d like to say a huge thank you to the New Walsall Art Gallery for hosting us and the excellent educational workshop. Further details of the day can be found online at www.ockbrooksch.co.uk

by Chris Wilkinson

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