Saturday, 9 July 2011

Springboard Art Exhibition

An exhibition launch evening might not appear to be the ideal place to take an almost five year old. But this was no ordinary view night.

The paintings were vibrant and the drawings thought-provoking. In 'Play Days', the artist(s) had personalised a swirling explosion of colour by sticking blades of grass to the mix. Another, 'Ladybirds are Bugs, Aren't They?' was a pen drawing that looked suspiciously like plagiarism to me - one I'd seen maybe dozens of times when this almost five year old by my side was a little younger.

I gave her the camera and she began the task of creating her own art, documenting the various hangings by a group of pre-schoolers from Springboard Opportunities Group, a local charity that supports children with additional needs. The exhibition, housed at the independent, contemporary Fizz Gallery, which nestles among the delicatessens and boutiques of Clevedon's Hill Road, is a stroke of genius: a fundraiser that illustrates Springboard's dedication to each child's personal development, displayed in a setting where any artist would be proud to show her work.

And the crowds came. It was a well attended launch night, with the only difference from any other being the age of the artists. Not once did I hear, 'My three-year old could have done that.'

When we got home, she grabbed her pens and sheets of A4 paper to unleash at least a dozen drawings, many inspired by the huge rainbow, revealed to us on our journey back to Weston, that had appeared among the dark grey clouds of July. In the morning she went in search of a half forgotten photo album and asked me to help her make a display of her new artwork. I have no doubt that the experience of seeing pieces so similar to her own, hung in such a fine manner at Fizz Gallery, prompted her to be curator of her own drawings in felt-tip pen on 80 gsm.

Every child deserves to have their work recognised in this way. I raise a glass of orange juice to the parents, the staff and, of course, the children of Springboard Opportunity Group - a very big well done, all round!

These photos are a child's eye view of the exhibition:

- by Becky

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