Friday, 6 November 2009

Welsh School children get ready to see their artwork unveiled at Wales Millennium Centre

A sculpture created by children from seven schools across Wales was unveiled at Wales Millennium Centre this November, as part of the venue's 5th birthday celebrations.

Some 200 children attended a 5th birthday party at the landmark Cardiff arts venue this afternoon (Friday 6 November) where the work they helped create was finally revealed.

The schools taking part are Adamsdown Primary School, Cardiff; Townhill Community School, Swansea; Twynyrodyn Infants School, Merthyr; Ysgol Cynlais, Swansea; Ysgol Glancegin, Bangor; Ysgol Maenofferen, Blaenau Ffestiniog; and Ysgol y Traeth, Barmouth.

The sculpture is the result of months of work under the guidance of Caernarfon-based artist Ann Catrin Evans. Earlier this year she led art workshops in each of the schools where the children were encouraged to explore the theme of their futures.

Each child was given a small sheet of copper on which to draw their visions of the future. Those individual pieces will feature in the final sculpture, with Ann Catrin using their ideas to inspire the rest of the art work.

The finished piece of art will be permanently suspended from the ceiling at Wales Millennium Centre's Glanfa Foyer. The children's drawings, photos of the workshops and Ann Catrin's designs will also feature in a free public exhibition at the Centre, which runs until 29 November 2009.

Like the Centre, all the children who helped create the sculpture also turn five this year. This project, First Contact, is supported by the Arts Council of Wales. It marks the start of an ongoing relationship between the Centre and the children, who will be involved in different annual arts projects until they turn 21.

As well as seeing their work for the first time on 6 November 2009, the children will also be treated to a back-stage tour of Wales Millennium Centre and a celebratory 5th birthday tea party.

Meri Jones, head teacher of Ysgol Maenofferen in Blaenau Ffestiniog, said: 'The children have really appreciated having an outside artist coming in to the school to work with them and they are very much looking forward to coming down to Cardiff. The children are literally counting down the days.

'I don't think they realise the enormity yet - they know that it's part of something bigger but I don't think they will fully appreciate it until they arrive. We don't know what the finished sculpture looks like - and won't until we get there.'

Julie Hanlon, teacher at Adamsdown Primary School, said: 'The children had a great day experimenting with the new materials which they had never used before. They enjoyed working with the artist Ann Catrin Evans and cannot wait to see their finished sculptures hanging up in Wales Millennium Centre.'

Visitors to Wales Millennium Centre will already be familiar with Ann Catrin's work. Internationally recognised for her designs made from hot forged steel, she designed the distinctive handles and wave-effect plates that adorn the numerous doors in the building.

The project is also a personal challenge for Ann Catrin. In January 2009 she survived a near-fatal car accident, which left her with multiple fractures and a collapsed lung. While recovering from the accident, which left her unable to walk for eight months, Ann Catrin turned to Bangor-based iron works Brunswick to help create the sculpture.

Fiona Allan, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, said: 'First Contact is part of the Centre's vision to develop an appreciation of art in young children. Working with Ann Catrin, the children have created a sculpture which celebrates our 5th birthday and the spirit of Wales as seen through the eyes of its young people.

'We are extremely fortunate that Ann Catrin has been able to continue her work on the project after her accident. We aim to make the unveiling a memorable day and the start of what will be a long and creative relationship between the Centre and all the children involved.'

Ann Catrin said: 'It was rewarding to collaborate with children the length and breadth of Wales. They really enjoyed working with the copper and having to think about the future to make something that will last forever.

'Being asked to be involved with Wales Millennium Centre on its 5th birthday project was a great experience. I was involved when the Centre opened and it is exciting to be a part of such a big scale project once again.

'I am glad I was able to see the First Contact project through and hope to be involved with the children at various stages of their creative lives as the project develops over the coming years.'

Photograph: Adamsdown Primary School pupils with artist Ann Catrin Evans. By Glenn Edwards


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