About 10 years ago, three artists were approached by the governor of their children’s primary school and asked if they would run an after-school art club.
Although these artists had busy lives already dividing their time between their studios and families, they had long felt that art was seen as an ‘add on’, as reflected in the curriculum of their children’s school. It was a treat set apart from other scholastic work, usually on a Friday afternoon, rather than a valid subject in its own right, exploring and focusing on ideas with an inventive and creative mind.
With this ethos, the Phil and Jim Art Club was started in 2002. It has subsequently evolved into a group of 6 artists taking turns to lead the weekly sessions with 50+ children, aged between 7 and 11. The artists spend a long time preparing each lesson, continually swapping ideas which often run beyond the art club. We enjoy the hours spent together, usually over a meal, bouncing ideas back and forth and often shooting wildly off on a tangent during our planning meetings. The club thrives on an atmosphere of mutual respect between the artists themselves, and this is the foundation of its continuing success, and towards the children, whose instinctive and entirely natural receptiveness and creativity is perpetually a source of joy and inspiration to us all. There is a palpable buzz in the background of each session, some of which are intense and quiet, with each child absorbed in their task, others can be wild and exuberant to the point of near chaos, when spontaneous creativity is the essence of the session and we are all involved together in something exciting and wonderful.