CAST provides an ambitious programme of creative learning for primary schools, with the generous support of the Garcia Family Foundation. The programme is led by artist educator Lucy Grant. If your school would like to participate in future sessions please get in touch.
In June 2019 a successful pilot programme of ‘Art Lab’ sessions explored the life of The (Surprisingly) Adventurous Rhododendron from the perspective of Victorian botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, whose expeditions to the Himalayan regions of north India and Nepal led to the collection of rhododendron seeds that were later planted in many English gardens, including the great gardens of Cornwall.
Whilst government restrictions prevented us from welcoming schools to the building, we provided a series of outdoor sessions for local primary schools based on our successful 2020 off-site summer programme for families. The sessions were designed to develop creative learning and engagement through observation, drawing and making – CAST-Off for schools.
In October 2021 we were delighted to be able to welcome schools back to the building for a programme of ‘Art Lab’ sessions entitled Chromacopia. The workshops introduced the science behind colour perception, the role colour plays in nature and the value, and power of colour in communication and art throughout time. Then in May 2022, CAST presented a third Art Lab programme for schools, this time delving into the work and creative practice of studio-holder Nicola Bealing.
One of the teachers whose classes participated in the 2019 ‘Art Lab’ sessions offered the following feedback:
The old building has a palpable sense of solidity, history and quiet. The facilitators created an atmosphere of thoughtfulness, married with creative fun, which suited it perfectly. The use of the first ‘black box’ area, with its recessed lighting spotlighting various artefacts, created a striking sense of curiosity and contemplation, which caused the children to really stop and examine items in detail. In the main ‘black box’ space the immersive experience created a memorable sensory journey. In the studio the children were able to produce some really beautiful images, inspired by the thoughtfully set out and resourced room, as well as the tangible sense of all of those who had worked there before them. The inspiration provided by some of the journals and objects in the ‘black box’ experience was clear. The quiet time to really look at the plants before painting them provoked conversation about the intricate detail revealed by magnifying glasses, and the whole session promoted a personal artistic response to scientific facts and discovery.
My class had an absolutely fantastic morning. It is amazing to have a facility like this so close to our school – an incredible resource which I cannot wait to use again.