MK Gallery Arts Award Adviser, Sophie Bennett, describes our second Sharing Session of the summer season:
Our Arts Award journey continued on Saturday as we met for our second Sharing Session of the season to find out about artists! We explored the exciting Townley and Bradby exhibition A Game Played in the Gallery Over Two Days, currently showing in the Project Space. The children were so excited by what they found; a den, little toys, technology, plants and stones that had been painted on. We then came up with words to describe some of the things they discovered or felt whilst exploring the exhibition. Some of my favourites included experimental, fun, shapes, alive and somewhere to hide. The group couldn’t believe that the exhibition was created by children and that they were a family of artists.
We then had the opportunity to interview an artist called Betsy from the artist duo Kaleidoworks, and watch some of their thought-provoking video art. Everyone was fascinated, and sometimes a little confused, by the animations of moving leaves, running water and changing colours. They asked Betsy some fantastic questions about her art such as ‘What inspires you?’ and ‘How do you come up with ideas?’ followed by my personal favourite question of ‘How much do you get paid?’! Thank you Betsy for being so honest with your answers and helping the group with their Arts Award journeys.
Sophie Bennett, Arts Award Adviser at MK Gallery describes the first session of the new season:
The summer season of Arts Award at MK Gallery has officially begun! This month, children signed up to start their Discover and Explore Awards and we began our journey at July’s Sharing Session with an exploration of the many different art forms that Milton Keynes has to offer. Fashion and design in the centre:mk, public sculptures all over the city (but of course we were most interested in the concrete cows!), music at the Stables, drama and ballet at Milton Keynes Theatre, graffiti on the underpasses, architecture in the buildings around us and drawing and painting right here at the Gallery. We then began by drawing and collaging our art forms onto a giant map of Milton Keynes. This got everybody’s minds thinking about what art activities they were going to take part in next for their Awards!
Many of the group have been coming to our Saturday Studio sessions to try out different art activities, which this month are based on future visions of Milton Keynes. Last Saturday was all about recreating iconic buildings from around the city using our imaginations and paint. We had a shopping centre that was turned into a magical sweet shop, the Point was reinvented as a funky modern art gallery and polka dot clouds that floated in the sky while futuristic electric cars moved about the streets below. What a fantastic start to the season!
You can find out more about Arts Award at MK Gallery by visiting our website here.
On the 1 May 2017, four runners participated in the MK Marathon and Half Marathon to raise money for MK Gallery. The Gallery was delighted to be a charity sponsor at the marathon weekend this year, along with other local charities, including MK Dons Sport and Education Trust, St Francis’ Children’s Society and Milton Keynes YMCA. Our runners all took on the challenge and despite the rain, the day was a success.
Families and friends of runners also joined MK Gallery staff to make flags to wave at their loved ones. Led by MK Gallery’s Associate Artist, Willow Mitchell, the flag-making activity was very popular both with young and older supporters.
Next month, Kate Mooney will be participating in the Great North Swim for MK Gallery and in October, we will be supporting another fundraiser at the Leicester Marathon.
There are more opportunities to support MK Gallery throughout the year. It is a great way to challenge yourself, whilst also raising money for local cultural development and educational programmes in Milton Keynes. Applications for runners for MK Marathon 2018 will be open soon and advertised in our newsletter. If you would like to support MK Gallery at an upcoming challenge event, please contact Ellen Myers via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01908 558318 for more details.
Over the next two years, MK Gallery will work with Townley and Bradby on Playing Out. As a collaborative artist practice involving two parents, and at times, their three children, Townley and Bradby incorporate mundane domestic routine and the emotional intensity of family life into their art. They will be artists-in-residence for two years in Conniburrow, and the neighbouring communities of Fishermead, Downs Barn and Springfield working alongside participatory artist Georgina Manly and a research student from the University of Northampton. Their work in Conniburrow will link up with Big Local Conniburrow, a groundbreaking project run by the local community.
The family describe their first encounter with the MK Gallery staff team:
We make work about the family, and sometimes we do this as a family. Vic* suggested that for our first encounter with the other MK Gallery staff we could do a presentation of some sort. The idea was to give staff an idea of our approach and our practice. In our experience the slides+speaking format doesn’t access the ways that children think or communicate. We wanted to use a format that all five of us could take part in.
This year we have been trying out ways of performing as a family. So far, the main features of our family performances seem to be:
– tension and arguments in the days beforehand
– minimal rehearsal (ideally no more than half an hour)
– a clear structure that we can improvise around
– some props
The performance took place in the Project Space and made use of the five large windows. As the gallery staff were coming in, we were in our places, on the window ledges, hidden from view by the blackout curtains. Once everyone was seated we began to sing long notes and to gently waft the curtains. After a few minutes we stepped down into the room. We kept hold of the hem of curtains so they dipped and climbed behind us like vampire capes. We then took turns at telling the other four to be quiet and to listen. Every so often we would dash to a table to grab one of the props to help us. The props included velvet dog ears, woolly leg warmers, a cock’s comb hat, various percussion, a Russian hat, a rain stick, a head scarf. Each dash to the table was a chance for the others to steal that person’s place. We ended by all trying to balance on the same small wooden stool.
*Victoria Mayes is Head of Learning at MK Gallery
MK Gallery’s third Family-in-Residence, the Pozzuto family.
Over the past couple of months, MK Gallery’s latest Family-in-Residence, the Pozzuto family, have been collaborating with artist Willow Mitchell to bring you a fun Minecraft inspired event for all the family on Sunday 18 December.
Join us as we travel through a portal and explore a land of gaming and pixels. Together we will move around creative biomes (zones) and as we construct and create, we will all become players in our own cyberspace.
The Pozzuto family have lived in Bletchley for the past seven years. Comprised of mum Leanne, dad Riccardo, nanny Shirley, and children Olivia and Leo, they are regular attendees to our Collaborate family workshops. Leanne identifies Shirley as the creative influence in the family, with this creativity now being shared with the grandchildren.
We are very excited to have them as our third Family-in-Residence and hope that you can join us on 18 December from 1-3pm to celebrate their good work. Tickets cost £1 per person on the door and can be reserved here.
MK Gallery has signed up as a charity partner for Milton Keynes Marathon and Half Marathon Weekend 2017.
Consistently ranked in the top 10 UK marathons, Milton Keynes Marathon is the perfect event for first-time marathon runners thanks to its fast and flat course. Runners pass local landmarks on the green and scenic 13.1 and 26.2 mile routes. We have places available for runners who would like to fundraise for us.
One participant who has signed up to run for MK Gallery is marketeer, Kate Mooney, who states: “Growing up with an interest in creative pursuits was not the easiest in Milton Keynes. As a new town it lacked easily accessible culture, but at the age of 16 I was introduced to MK Gallery via their youth outreach programme Lost & Found. It is no exaggeration to say that it opened up a whole world to me, giving me the chance to have a hand in planning music events and even our own exhibition.
I will be running the MK half marathon in support of the gallery because I believe it is vital that they have the funding to continue opening their doors to young people and bringing interesting and exciting culture to a town, that at times, sorely needs it.”
This will be Kate’s first marathon and we wish her the best of luck!
We have complimentary places on offer to runners and ask that they fundraise a minimum of £100 for MK Gallery.
If you would like to run for us, please contact Ellen Myers via email@example.com or by telephoning 01908 558318. Visit our BT My Donate page for more information.
Image: Churchill Studio
MK Gallery is one of a number of regional organisations, venues and independent producers currently developing a new curatorial network for commissioning and touring experimental music. Entitled, Outlands, the network aims to support, develop and enrich the field of experimental music in the UK through a multi-year programme of events and audience development work. Led by De La Warr Pavillion, the network is currently in the process of developing a significant bid to the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund with the view to initiating activity mid to late 2017, if successful.
Partners include: De La Warr Pavillion (Bexhill); MK Gallery; Cambridge Junction; Capsule (Birmingham), Fat Out / Islington Mill (Salford); QuJunktions and Al Cameron (Bristol); Fuse Art Space (Bradford); Karst and Peninsula Arts (Plymouth).
Keep an eye on this blog for further updates as the project progresses.