By Paula Briggs
For many years I have been running an after school artclub for children aged 6 to 10 in village halls in the Cambridgeshire area. It’s been an absolute pleasure; in addition to helping to develop a passion for drawing and making in the children who have attended, it has also helped feed my own creative development, led to numerous AccessArt resources, and even a book. Alongside my classes, my colleague Sheila Ceccarelli has been leading a classes with teenagers and in doing so has created a hugely valuable legacy of resources which explore teenaged creativity.
We get lots of emails from members of AccessArt telling us about the clubs that they run – some after school clubs, some in studios in gardens, some in village halls. We also get lots of emails from artist educators who are thinking of setting up such projects, and who would like advice about how to do so. Over the next few months we hope to publish some examples of different creative club formats, how they were set up and how they work in practice, with the aim of inspiring more artist educators!
If you have a club format you’d like to share, please do get in touch!
The Friday Club
This Friday I’m looking forward starting a brand new art club with 6 young and very talented ten year olds. The Friday Club is a re-invention of the old AccessArt Art Club for ages 6 to 10.
The children will be meeting for an hour each Friday, for five week blocks (at a cost of £40). Our meeting room / studio will be a small summerhouse at the end of the garden, where we can leave work between sessions. Working over 5 weeks will allow us to work on projects over a longer period of time, with more of an emphasis on discover and self-led journeys, and less emphasis on weekly outcome.
In fact one of the main foci of the sessions will be to “become journeyful”. The phrase was coined by my daughter (a member of the Friday Club), as I was trying to explain how I wanted the children to feel completely enabled to take risks and enjoy the creative journey, and to take away any pressure surrounding the end result. We decided we’d create a “Be Journeyful Wall” on which we post up work (all stages) which celebrates and supports this ethos. This is something I’d like to progress further in work in schools – encouraging displays of artwork to be about journey rather than end result.
Most importantly I’d like the children to take ownership of the sessions and their creative journeys. Whilst I’ll set the theme for each 5 week block, around a particular process, technique, concept, material or artist, I hope the children will decide the driection of the activity.
The children have agreed a few Friday Club “rules” which they would like to work towards:
Don’t forget to contact AccessArt if you’d like to share your experience in setting up and running art clubs.