The Annual Schools Exhibition 2015 begins later this month in Eastbourne celebrating the built heritage of the South Downs.
It will run at the Towner from Friday March 27-Sunday May 31.
Some 50 schools have signed up, visiting the Towner for art workshops and a tour of the exhibitions and collection and working on their group art piece. More than 1,000 school children are taking part overall.
Working in partnership with the South Downs National Park, the Towner and two other galleries will be engaging schools across Hampshire, West and East Sussex in a project that draws on the rich resources of the national park and local museums and galleries.
This year’s theme for the exhibition is Our Place: Celebrating the built heritage of the South Downs and invites school children to look at the built heritage of the South Downs – whether ancient or modern, domestic or industrial, places of worship or commemoration.
The works chosen from the collections at the partner galleries will show school children how different artists have chosen to represent places that have meaning or interest for them.
The exhibition will take the form of small scale buildings made by pupils, whose schools will be issued with a one metre squared ‘plot of land’ each.
A focus will be made on works from the Towner’s Collections by Eric Ravilious, John Piper, Robert Tavener, William Nicholson, William Raine, Harold Mockford, and John R Biggs. Among the works from the Towner’s Collection is an additional loaned work by locally based contemporary artist Wycliffe Stutchbury.
For the past five years, more than 7,000 school pupils have had an opportunity to respond to the Towner’s collection and participate in an exciting exhibition in the South East’s largest contemporary art gallery.
Schoolchildren taking part in the Annual Schools Exhibition can gain an Arts Award and schools can achieve ArtsMark or Artsmark Gold.
Amanda Elmes, who leads on learning and outreach for the South Downs National Park Authority, said, “The rolling chalk hills of the South Downs have been lived on and shaped by people from more than 500,000 years.
“We can trace this history through iron-age forts, Roman palaces, Saxon churches, medieval villages, Norman castles, Elizabethan manors, Georgian mansions, Victorian houses, 20th century war defences and all the way to modern architecture.
“It’s exciting to be working with the Towner to share this story with students from across Sussex and Hampshire.
“I can’t wait to see the results.”
Clare Halstead, head of learning at the Towner, said, “This year’s Annual Schools Exhibition project is set to be one of the most exciting yet through our partnership with South Downs National Park Authority.
“We are lucky to have the South Downs on our doorstep, and what better way for school children to explore this rich natural heritage through arts and culture?”