Sunderland pupils link up with top artists at school’s new gallery

An exhibition at a primary school’s new art gallery features work by leading UK artists, as well as from their own pupils.

Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 5:28 pm

Fulwell Junior School’s Aspirations Gallery has opened and its first exhibition includes work loaned by the prestigious Arts Council Collection.

The loan of art by David Woodford, Josef Herman and Mishka Henner came about through teacher Katrina Humphries’ efforts with Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and Sunderland Culture.

The artwork was chosen by the school’s gallery curators. The Sea Road school recently completed a year-long Take Flight project. All of the artwork chosen for the gallery is connected to flight.

From left, pupils Matilda Smith and Grace Wright, with teacher Katrina Humphries and Sunderland Musuem's learning officer Jennie Lambert.

The project took delivery of two Boeing 747 jet engines; sculptures previously on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The engines were adapted to create two modern art sculptures by Turner Prize nominee artist Roger Hiorns.

Giant cranes were used to lower the sculptures, again loaned from the Arts Council Collection, into the school playground. The pupils created work from pipe cleaners, soap, paper, wire and mesh.

Katrina said: “Our Take Flight project focused on exploiting the natural links that exist between art and science inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s fascination with flight.

“Our project began in September last year with pupils studying birds on loan from Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. The pupils’ drawings were used to support a range of creative artworks, from printing to sculpture.

Fulwell Junior School headteacher Peter Speck, teacher Katrina Humphries, curators Hannah Gammage and Grace Wright and Ray Spencer MBE.

“Our aims are to establish the gallery as a space where both pupils and members of our community can exhibit and share their works alongside each other in joint projects, with pupils involved in the selection and curation of exhibits as part of their learning journey at Fulwell Junior School.”

Jennie Lambert, from Sunderland Museums, said: “Our learning team has loved working with Katrina and Fulwell Juniors pupils. Our role was really one of facilitation.

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"We helped the Arts Council Collection create a longlist of suitable artwork and then worked with the school on a shortlist.

“Once the curators had made their choices, we helped with the installation of the pieces, co-ordinating the technical support from Sunderland Culture. I love the results, the gallery is a great idea, well executed.”

Cllr Linda Williams said: “ It’s so impressive; to see the work of leading artists alongside the work of Sunderland children is amazing and inspiring.”