Latest exhibition looms

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‘Virtually There’, the latest exhibition at Banbridge’s F E McWilliam Gallery and Studio, opens to the public on Saturday.

A collection of work made collaboratively by schoolchildren, teachers and artists in Northern Ireland, it showcases work from the ‘Virtually There’ project, which originated at Ballydown Primary School in 2007, under the guidance of artist Ann Henderson.

Ann wanted to continue her relationship with the school from her new studio in Rathlin Island and had the idea to connect studio and classroom using video conferencing technology.

Eight years later, ‘Virtually There’, managed by Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, is the result. Artist and class communicate via an interactive screen and whiteboard and the children’s responses to ideas proposed by the artist guide the direction of the project over a number of months.

The exhibition features work created by the children from Ballydown Primary School and four other schools across Northern Ireland in collaboration with artists Ann Donnelly, Julie Forrester, Ann Henderson, Sharon Kelly and Andrew Livingstone.

To coincide with the exhibition a programme of events for children, teachers and artists has been arranged. A special event for local artists and teachers will take place on Saturday, led by artist Ann Donnelly.

A lecture, entitled ‘How do we make space for children‘s creative thinking?’, by Professor Declan McGonagle, Director at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin will take place on Thursday, March 12. A symposium on ‘Creativity in Primary Education’ will take place on Thursday, March 19.

The events are free but places must be booked in advance. For more information visit the gallery website at www.femcwilliam.com.

‘Virtually There’ continues at F E McWilliam Gallery until Saturday, April 11. The exhibition and event tour (2014–15) is funded by the Arts Council’s Touring and Dissemination of Work Award in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.