School’s out

If the Government needs reminding of the potential for creativity to shape Britain’s future, I suggest Education Secretary Michael Gove takes a brisk walk along the Thames from Westminster to Somerset House. He’ll be amazed by the quality of work by talented 14-16-year-olds currently on display there.

Ceramics by students from Cleveland
Ceramics by students from Cleveland

The Summer Show, staged by educational charity The Sorrell Foundation, shows the first outcomes of The National Art & Design Saturday Club which encourages promising schoolkids to turn their hands to art and design.

General view of the exhibition
General view of the exhibition

John and Frances Sorrell instigated the venture last year, having themselves benefitted from Saturday art clubs in the 1950s. And they aren’t alone. Adland luminary John Heggarty and typography star Freda Sack were part of the generation that cut their teeth creatively in this way. Perhaps you were one too.

Speaking at the launch of the show last night, the ever-modest John Sorrell suggested his career might have come to nothing had he not had this early introduction to art and design. Design certainly wasn’t a path the careers master was pushing.

He went on to cite the millions of pounds he, Frances and the likes of Heggarty have gone on to earn for the UK economy and the thousands of jobs they have created as a result. Politicians, please take note.

Portrait by students taking part in the Saturday club
Portrait by students taking part in the Saturday club

Portrait by students taking part in the Saturday club
Portrait by students taking part in the Saturday club

So far four colleges – Cleveland, Hereford, Leeds and Plymouth – have opened their doors to the teenagers on Saturday mornings and the results, manifested in drawing, painting, ceramics and the decorative arts, are hugely impressive. With De Montfort University, the Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London, theUniversity of Huddersfield and Bath Spa University now also expressing interest, the Sorrells could be on target for the 100 colleges they’d like to involve in the programme ere long.

General view of the exhibition
General view of the exhibition

The National Art & Design Saturday Club is described by the Sorrells as ‘A new pathway into the creative industries for young people’. I can vouch that the work created through it is an inspiration to older people too.

Portrait by students taking part in the Saturday club
Portrait by students taking part in the Saturday club

The National Art & Design Saturday Club Summer Show runs at The Great Arch Gallery, Somerset House from10am to 6pm until 15 August.

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  • Jacqueline Cunningham November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Anything happening in Scotland?

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