Arriving early Friday morning SEVEN set up our creative space in anticipation of the 4000+ school children who were expected to attend the Next Generation schools’ day at Chalkwell Park. The event is held each year, the day before the Village Green festival organised by Metal Southend and invites local school children to get involved in the arts – from drawing and painting to singing and performing on one of the festival stages.
We were offering drop-in sessions for the children and we invited them to either spend time: free-doodling on a continuous roll of paper; creating mandalas from magazines; or creating gift tag art.
It was a very busy morning with a constant flow of groups of children (and teachers) getting stuck in and enjoying their creative freedom.
‘Bling’ was a very common theme among the youngsters, who sought out any form of shiny jewels…
And by the end of the day our continuous roll of paper had been filled with some inspiring creative doodles…
During one of our workshops a teacher commented on how surprised she was to see one pupil sitting still for 20 minutes, whereas she would normally be very disruptive in the classroom. The slow, meditative process of creating something by hand can give the feeling of being ‘lost in the moment’, which in a time when we are surrounded by information 24/7 can be a welcome break.
It was very clear to see the value of creativity on the day and how much the children enjoyed it. At a time when the number of creative subjects being taught in schools has been systematically cut, the work that Metal does in the local community is essential.