Young Curators (4)

Staffordshire school students reveal contemporary artists to feature in unique exhibition

  • The Young Curators ‘Through the Frame’ exhibition includes work by Hirst, Emin and Hockney
  • Exhibition opens on February 10 at The Brampton Museum, Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • Project has been supported with a £22,900 grant from Arts Council England

A group of Staffordshire school students will open their first contemporary art exhibition next month featuring limited edition works from a range of artists including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and David Hockney.

The exhibition at Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Brampton Museum is entitled ‘Through the Frame’ and will also feature the artwork packaging to celebrate the ‘wow factor’ of each artwork when it was first seen by the exhibition’s ‘Young Curators’ from Madeley School.

‘Through the Frame’, which opens to the public from February 10th until April 14th, is the culmination of six months of planning and is a collaboration between 14 Key Stage 3 and 4 students from the school, art dealer and former Madeley pupil Dr Jack Roberts and The Brampton Museum.

The idea for the Young Curators Art Project was devised by Madeley School’s Faculty Leader of Performance and Creativity, Katie Leath and Dr Roberts, who is a former pupil of Katie’s.

Ahead of the opening of the exhibition, the Young Curators said: “We wanted to take this amazing opportunity to share some brilliant artwork and to make art accessible for everyone.

“We have artists such as Damien Hirst, David Shrigley, Tracey Emin, Harland Miller, Jeff Koons, Kaws and a piece by David Hockney.

“Our exhibition is called “Through the Frame,” and it exhibits the pieces of art with their packaging and the boxes they come in.”

Dr Roberts, who has shared his art expertise with the pupils throughout the project and has provided all of the artwork that will be on display from his company Art Addict, explained the thought process behind the exhibition’s title.

He said: “The experience of seeing the boxes before the art built the anticipation for the group, making them even more excited to see the artworks when they were opened.

“The excitement that they felt when they saw each artwork has guided their selection. Some pieces I took in didn’t really get the deep ‘wow’ that others did as they were opened. The real ‘wow’ pieces are the ones that were selected.

“The theme of the exhibition ‘Through the Frame’ is about looking at the artists’ ideas, trying to look at meanings to the artworks,  such as why they were made. The students want to give more insight into the artworks and their thinking process.

“The exhibition will feature black boards showing a mind map of their ideas and thoughts. A David Shrigley teapot, a nod to the region’s pottery heritage, will be displayed on a potter’s wheel. The students want the exhibition to have a ‘behind the scenes’ feel that makes visitors think they are in the artist’s studio.”

The students will personally install the works at Brampton Gallery ahead of the grand opening and will also host an invite-only private viewing on February 9th.

Lee Nixon, Madeley School Principal said: “We are immensely proud of the students and staff at Madeley School for their involvement in The Young Curators Art Project.

“This collaboration with Dr Jack Roberts, the Brampton Museum, and other project partners exemplifies the creativity and dedication within our school community.

“The project not only provides a unique opportunity for students to curate a high-profile exhibition but also aligns with our commitment to enriching the educational experience through engagement with the arts. We appreciate the support of the Arts Council, the Shaw Education Trust, and all those involved in making this innovative project a reality.”

‘Through the Frame’ will be amongst the first exhibitions to be held at The Brampton Museum following an £850,000 two-year transformation, which includes a new gallery.

Teresa Mason, Culture and Arts Manager, Brampton Museum, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Madeley School and Dr Jack Roberts on this innovative and ground-breaking project.

“Brampton Museum is looking forward to enhancing the students’ skills and knowledge of curating a high-profile exhibition of contemporary artists which will be on-show in 2024.

“We are looking forward to seeing how these young people interpret this fantastic art collection.”

The Brampton Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 1:30pm to 5pm.

The Young Curators Art Project has been supported by funding from Arts Council England via the National Lottery Project Grants.

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