Schools artist in residence program
In 2020, South Australians schools took part in the School Artist in Residence Program for the first time, presented by SALA Festival in partnership with Credit Union SA. The pilot program aims to place practicing South Australian artists in South Australian schools, to give students a chance to learn from them and validate the visual arts as a career path.
The 2020 Schools Artist in Residence Program paired the following schools and artists:
Avenues College – Thomas Readett
Christies Beach Primary – Dave Court
Lobethal Primary – Louise Flaherty
Northern Adelaide Senior College – Jimmy Dodd
The Grove Education Centre – Henry Jock Walker
Stuart High School – Olivia White
Avenues College - Thomas Readett
Artist Thomas Readett worked remotely with students via Google classroom to be able to hold some skill-building sessions throughout Term 3 despite restrictions. With a goal of creating a mural on the back of their music room, students applied what they had learned about drawing and tone in their designs. Each student’s design contributed to the final mural, which references film, drama, music and media. Students learned further skills in the execution of the mural, such as how to ‘fade’ with spray paint, and experiment with different caps/nozzles.
Christies Beach Primary - Dave Court
Dave spent a week working with a group of grade 6/7s in a 5-day intensive workshop exploring painting and drawing techniques, ending in a large collaborative painting, narrative image creation and photography. Check out the results.
“It was invaluable for the students to get to know someone who has made a career out of art, I think this really opened some of their minds to the possibility that art can be a subject in high school and university that has future career prospects. Dave challenged a lot of the students’ ideas about art being neat and detailed and opened their minds to art also being big and messy. For the 20 students who participated, I know it was one of their favourite weeks of the year.”
– Jess Baxter, teacher.
Lobethal Primary - Louise Flaherty
As part of the Schools Artist in Residence Program, children from Lobethal Primary School and Art Teacher Jane Mant engaged with artist Louise Flaherty to explore and draw the native plants found in Bushland Park. The program sought to explore growth, regeneration, and to connect the children to their environment following Louise’s interest in remnant native vegetation.
During the four days of workshops, the children learned about the native plants of conservation significance in Bushland Park and shared their stories and memories of the park, which they represented through drawings. The result of the project is a collection of diverse artworks from all the students, and displayed as a large-scale vinyl mural in Lobethal.
Stories of Lobethal Bushland Park
Northern Adelaide Senior College - Jimmy dodd
Jimmy Dodd will lead a series of aerosol and mural development workshops with students at the college, offered as both a structured timeslot and as a more flexible, lunch time slot. Over the period of the term a design will be developed, to be executed as a mural on the outside of the building. The building is shared by a range of other user groups including Northern Sound System and is abutting the local skate park.
The Grove Education Centre - Henry Jock Walker
Artist Henry Jock Walker spent time with the students at The Grove Education Centre, engaging them in a large-scale outdoor painting effort. Students were able to drop-in on a whim at lunchtimes making quick expressive work, or they could take their time, with some keen artists developing fine-detail figurative works.
Stuart High School - Olivia White
Video produced by D’faces of Youth Arts
Olivia White worked with three groups of yr8, yr9 and FLC student artists at Stuart High School.
“On my first visit to the school, I joined in on their existing art projects, talked to the student artists about my work and asked them what they would like to make with me. We considered a mural or a multipart work that fits together or creating our own individual paintings. All three groups wanted to create their own individual paintings. We were fortunate that the school was safely open to low risk visitors at this time and able to run this residency.
The student artists were asked to paint something that was meaningful to them. We worked our way through a value and a temperature study. Then started working on our own paintings by creating custom limited palettes and exploring the palette by creating swatches for the key colours in our reference as a way to ease into the painting, while the artists who wanted to launched straight onto their panels.
I also wanted to show the artists my process and talk them through my approach to creating and problem solving. I decided to paint something inspired by conversations with them about their school community and what makes it special and unique. While working on my piece I was always available for assistance, questions or for the student artists to take a break, observe and hang out. I was also able to spend some time painting in the library so I could be available to more students during my time at Stuart High School.
I learnt so much about communicating as a teacher and mentor. My core intention for the project was to break down the barriers to painting, which is usually some form of fear. The program was developed in steps designed to build skills, experience and confidence as we went along. Referring to the students as artists, validating their artistic decisions, encouraging their unique application and helping to solve problems was key to my approach.
I’m so pleased to have been able to work with the phenomenal teacher Tammy-Lee Smith who learnt along with the students and had the space and encouragement to paint her own amazing piece. In term three she is applying her new skills and leading a whole new group through the oil painting process we developed. I’ve learned so much about the art of teaching from Tammy and gained more confidence in my own capacity and abilities as a teacher.
A huge thank you to all the students for painting along with me. Thank you for your hard work and persistence and all your brilliant questions. Your feedback meant so much I will definitely be coming back to Stuart to visit and see what you make next.
Thanks to SALA and credit Union SA for making this project possible. Thank you for giving us the flexibility to develop this residency into a meaningful experience for all of us in this unusual time.”
– Olivia White