New project connects artists with schools across Skye and Lochalsh

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The value of art in school classrooms is being celebrated in schools across Skye and Lochalsh.

Funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Art Access Fund, a new project connects local artists with Kyle, Plockton, Kyleakin, Auchtertyre, Loch Duich and Glenelg primary schools, with a special exhibition at the Old Bakehouse at Create in Kyle.

Running from now until March, and with the exhibition open from November 3 to November 10, ATLAS Arts says it is thrilled to be supporting the making of new artworks in the six local schools through five local artists.

The project sees Balmacara-based artists Sarah Longley and Isabel McLeish working
with Kyle and Auchtertyre primary schools respectively. Malcolm Mackenzie, who lives
in Plockton, will work with their primary school, and Kirkton-based Rebecca Collins with both Loch Duich and Glenelg primary schools.  They are joined by Irene Blair, of Breakish, who is working with Kyleakin primary.

Each artist is leading child-led workshops across primary one to primary seven, supporting learning through making and playing, allowing creativity and fun to flourish, and focusing on wellbeing and confidence building for the future.

The artists are developing different projects in line with the interests of each class, including mural making, printing, publication making, outdoor learning, painting and sculptures made from recycled materials.

Sarah Longley, one of the five artists, said: ‘The Art in Schools project with ATLAS Arts is vitally important, showing just how much children need more art at a primary level.

‘Too often art is seen as a frivolous add-on. It is so much more than that. It is a way of
communicating, a form of self-expression, and it helps children make sense of the world
around them. I hope the programme will lead to greater investment in art education in the Highlands. If a love of art is nurtured in a child it will last a lifetime.’

Artist Sarah Longley with the children at Kyle Primary School. Photograph: Sarah Longley. NO F45 Atlas 02
Artist Sarah Longley with the children at Kyle Primary School. Photograph: Sarah
NO F45 Atlas 02

On the project so far, Jennifer Skene-Maclean, headteacher of Kyle and Kyleakin
primaries, said the children at Kyle Primary School have thoroughly enjoyed working with Ms Longley on this project.

‘They have been inspired to think and create, while taking into account the natural beauty of the landscape and community around them. It’s wonderful to see them becoming young artists,’ she added.

Ms Longley will also be hosting The Kaleidoscope Exhibition, featuring work from the Art in Schools’ project, which will be taking place in the Old Bakehouse at Create in Kyle, from November 3 to November 10, from 10.30am to 5pm. On Thursday November 4, the exhibition will open from 10.30am till 8pm.

This exhibition will include art produced by children at home during the lockdown via Ms Longley and other pieces from Kyle Community Trust’s summer workshops and Kyleakin connections.

ATLAS Arts director Ainslie Roddick explained: ‘It would be so great as a legacy of this
project to see more funding for visiting artists and art teaching implemented across
Skye and Lochalsh.

‘We have an abundance of brilliant artists and schools who see immeasurable benefits in working with them. Everyone we’ve worked with in this project has said how great it’s been, just the simple act of having an artist in the school over an extended time.

‘It gives teachers and children time to imagine and connect in new ways and to focus on children’s wellbeing and sense of self. Thank you so much to the brilliant teachers, artists and pupils for their support.’


An image of the collaborative ‘Kaleidoscope’ painting with Kyle Primary School pupils. Photograph: Sarah Longley. NO F45 Atlas 01

EXTRA pic:

Artist Sarah Longley with the children at Kyle Primary School. Photograph: Sarah
Longley. NO F45 Atlas 02