Pupils, parents and teachers get first glimpse of stunning new ‘floating’ artwork at Lansbury Bridge School
A new artwork commissioned by Heart of Glass and made by pupils working with Heart of Glass Artist in Residence for Schools and Colleges Cathy Cross has been unveiled at Lansbury Bridge School and Sports College.
Circle Shadows Overhead is a large scale installation that hangs from the ceiling in the school’s entrance hall. Featuring 125 individuals artworks made by pupils, the artwork creates a floating ceiling of ‘clouds’ that change colour with the light throughout the day and can be projected on to.
Cathy has been working in the school since September 2018, delivering sessions using low-tech gadgets and high-spec smartphones to show teachers and pupils how simple ideas can transform spaces. The pupils made each individual ‘cloud’ in small groups and pairs using fabric, paint and other materials.
The ‘clouds’ can also be projected onto giving pupils and staff the chance to curate the space with video, images and light.
As Artist in Residence Cathy Cross explains “I wanted to create an installation that would unite the whole school community and offered a chance for me to get to know the pupils through creative immersive sessions.
“During the time we spent in the art room, we played with light and darkness, changed the atmosphere, slowed the time down to listen to sounds. By adapting the space we work in, we can change the mood, energy and volume of a room. We can see, hear and feel things differently.
“My aim was to enable staff to try new ways of working, and experience different responses from the students they know so well. By working on small surfaces with each class, I was able to build a larger body of work that each individual, pairing or class could own.”
Cathy installed the work over the weekend so that the installation was a surprise at the start of the day for both staff, pupils and parents/carers.
“This was always part of the plan, to create a moment of looking up and seeing what is possible. Creating magical spaces with the people who work, eat and play in them every day is always a privilege. I can’t wait to see what we can do with the space next!”
The project has received an incredibly positive reaction from staff and pupils as Lansbury’s Deputy Head Helen Birkenhead explains “The whole process has benefited our pupils – from experiencing the new ambience in the classroom and collaborating with their peers to helping host the installation event.
“Our newly appointed Arts Ambassadors demonstrated confidence in welcoming guests, showcasing their work and eliciting feedback on the installation. Many have been inspired to speak to the attending artists about career opportunities. During lunchtimes it is lovely to see pupils looking up at the work; pointing out their individual contribution and watching the light (natural or projected) change across the surface of the hoops.
“It has also been rewarding to hear our pupils using descriptive and emotive language when describing the process and the finished installation.”
Kat Dempsey, Deputy Director, Heart of Glass, explains the approach “Through the artist residency model we can support Cathy to be truly embedded within the school community. The outcome of this long term approach is trust and care on all sides and that shines through the fantastic work the pupils, teachers have created together with Cathy. The creative journey they have gone on together echoes our philosophy of co-production and shows why we place people at the centre of everything we do.”
Cathy Cross is Artist in Residence for Schools and Colleges at Heart of Glass, an arts organisation based in St Helens.
Heart of Glass supports artists and diverse communities to go on creative journeys together and make ambitious art. Cathy builds dens, creates projects, and constructs new spaces for pupils, teachers and parents to forge a deeper relationship with learning. Her work explores how the environments we use – often those overlooked or ignored – can become inventive incubators for personal growth.
Lansbury Bridge School is a specialist provision catering for children aged 3-16 years.