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Our blog this week is written by Education Co-ordinator, Emily Hedley, who tells us more about the gallery's new Learning Programme, Pearls of the Sea at Jerwood Gallery.

At the beginning of the 2015 academic year, the gallery launched its new learning programme, Pearls of the Sea at Jerwood Gallery. This new programme was developed from our experience of the Start programme (a three year programme funded by the Princes Foundations for Children and the Arts and the Magdalen and Lasher charity) and the feedback we have gained from the teachers, young people and artists involved. The Start programme enabled the gallery to work with a total of 15 local schools over the 3 years, with 677 young people visiting the gallery last year alone.

In June 2015, we transformed the studio and stair foyer of the gallery into an exhibition space to showcase the final pieces of artwork produced by schools involved. Families were invited to private viewings of the exhibition and many schools chose to perform dances, songs and poems they produced during their visits.

Once the exhibition at the gallery had closed, many schools decided to exhibit their work back at school. Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School invited me along to view their end of year exhibition which was a mixture of all the artwork produced in the year. It was fantastic to see the school hall transformed into an exhibition space for all to see.  Additionally, staff at Christ Church CE Primary School were so inspired by their pupil’s achievements that they exhibited in this year’s Coastal Currents Festival, making them the first school in the area to do this.

I’m really looking forward to Pearls of the Sea at Jerwood Gallery, as over the years I have worked with some truly inspirational teachers and this programme will give the gallery the chance to develop and nurture existing relationships whilst also building new ones. This year we welcome three new schools to the programme, West St Leonards Primary School, Rye Primary Academy and Rye Community College.

There is a teachers networking event planned for Spring 2016. This will be a fantastic opportunity for our education network to come together and share their experiences with others and talk about the forthcoming programme.

Jerwood Gallery is a fantastic resource for learning and we always aim to help teachers meet their needs. Creativity is something that can be taught and this enables children and young people in the community to think outside the box.

All children who take part in Pearls of the Sea at Jerwood Gallery this school year will receive a stationery pack featuring illustrations by Quentin Blake.
06 November, 2015
Written by Emily Hedley