I have had the privilege of being invited to create, organise, and run a number of mutli-sensory art projects for SEN schools in Hampshire that involve the whole school – up to as many as 138 children. To ensure that every child can access the art project regardless of their age or special need is a great challenge, but hugely rewarding. I become the artist in residence for a week, and am given a room in which I am able to recreate an environment that fits with the theme of the art project, e.g. a jungle room filled with foliage, the sounds of tropical bird song and of thunderous rain storms in the distance, bark on the floor to touch and smell, sandalwood candles, rich fabrics to stroke. I am always accompanied on the projects by my friendly deer puppet, who is able to aid with gentle and humorous encouragement when needed throughout the projects.
Each class in the school is invited into the room over the week to experience the environment e.g. the Jungle, and take part in the performance of making art. The emphasis is always on enjoying the process of making the art, and making sure that everyone can access the performance and the creative process. The art is produced through a performance of being in the environment e.g. the sun shining through the thick foliage in the jungle is appears by painting with yellow; the green of the jungle plants appears by mixing the yellow with the blue of the sky; the shy hidden creatures that live in the jungle are discovered by discussing what could live there, and created as mosaics of cutout painted patterns.
Everyone that is involved in the projects enjoys the experience, and the artworks are a huge bonus of delight at the end. These projects remain the most enriching for me as both a tutor and an artist and I am grateful to the schools for allowing me to work with them. Please contact me if you would like to invite me to your school.