Young artists are to see their work exhibited amongst rare treasures and the art of Old Masters when Nottinghamshire’s historic Portland Collection reopens on Saturday 14th September.
After taking part in a unique literacy and art project, the children have created an exhibition, which will be unveiled in The Harley Gallery on the ducal Welbeck Estate, near Worksop. The project — a collaboration between Nottinghamshire County Council and The Harley Gallery — was designed specifically to help vulnerable children and has already received acclaim when it came under the spotlight during last month’s UK Literacy Association International Conference.
As part of the project, the 26 children, aged between five and 11, were given the chance to study miniature portraits that form part of a collection built up over centuries by the Dukes of Portland at Welbeck. Dr Petula Bhojwani and Craig Wilkie, from Nottinghamshire County Council, worked with the children to help them create their own artwork, stories and digital apps inspired by the portraits.
The children’s exhibition is apt as The Harley Gallery and The Portland Collection are funded by The Harley Foundation, which was created in 1978 by Ivy, Duchess of Portland, specifically to create spaces where the imagination can flourish. As a charitable trust, it works to encourage the enjoyment of the visual arts and to celebrate the handmade.
The Trustees of the Harley Foundation have been overwhelmed by the extraordinary success of the storytelling project. William Parente, Chair of the Trustees, said: “In a long career in the arts and education I don’t think I have come across anything quite so imaginative, so admirable, so successful. The engagement of the children in their stories was quite remarkable, and the creativity and diversity of those stories wonderful to behold.”
Image © Lewis Khan