The festival's Art Outreach Programme is led by artist Mary Blue. Having started the programme in 2022, Mary Blue is continuing to deliver high quality arts workshops that run alongside the festival's Fine Art Exhibitions.
Her focus is on setting art with other subjects such as history, literature and music which actively demonstrates how the festival recognises the value of art - it does not sit beneath or apart from the rest of the curriculum but is an integral part of the overall educational picture.
In 2022 three schools participated in the pilot outreach programme. Following its success, this year the festival is extending the outreach programme to 671 students over five schools and intends to expand support to the local community by fostering a wider exposure to the visual arts in North Norfolk. The five schools participating will incorporate all Key Stages.
The workshops run alongside the exhibition German Expressionists & The Third Reich curated by James Glennie. Selected artworks created by students during the workshops will be displayed next to this exhibition. This gives students the opportunity to view their work in a venue outside of a school setting and offers the opportunity for wider viewing of their work by the public.
Expressionist artists wanted to release the deeper emotions they felt lay beneath the surface of everyday life. In addition to the workshops, this year's students will also experience a visual presentation showing art made in between the two world wars, listen to music of the period that influenced the arts and read the poetry that inspired them.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Expressionism emerged in Europe as an international tendency and art movement spanning art, literature, music, theatre, film and architecture. During the workshops, the students will respond to still lives and try their hand at painting with heavy black outline and bold colours.
The programme also offers students opportunities to engage with artists and academics by giving schools and the wider community new and exciting avenues of arts engagement. This is enabled by fostering thinking that increases opportunities for professional artists to be role models for young people so they can envision career options and support opportunities to develop creative resilience.
Setting art alongside other subjects in this series of workshops shows how the festival recognises the value of the arts and understands that it does not sit beneath or apart from the rest of the curriculum.
These ambitious projects would not be possible without the undying dedication of the festival's amazing team of volunteers. The support they provide brings the activity to life and bridges differing sectors of the community.
The Holt Society has kindly supported the programme by supplying materials.