Little Treasures: Exploring ourselves through clay

Providing a new direction in the delivery of arts education in the Hume region, Shepparton Art Gallery has partnered with Numurkah Primary School to deliver an exciting 20 week ceramic art project at the school during semester two.

The Little Treasures: Exploring Ourselves Through Clay program, will receive $35,000 funding from Arts Victoria's, Education Partnerships: Extended School Residencies program. It is one of seven successful arts based proposals to receive funding and support from Arts Victoria.

Gallery education staff and selected artists will work with teachers to inspire grades 5 and 6 students in art making and exploring ideas through the visual arts. Education Officer, Rhonda Chrisanthou, welcomed the opportunity to build and support creative capacity in arts education.

"Little Treasures provides an ideal platform to develop our education programs in direct collaboration with enthusiastic teachers and students. We hope it will provide new ways of thinking about ceramics as an expressive and vital contemporary art form," Ms Chrisanthou said.

For Numurkah art teacher Suzy Turton, Little Treasures will provide greater involvement and enjoyment of the visual arts for the Year 5-6 classes involved in the project.

"Students will be expressing and sharing their ideas, thoughts and feelings directly through the medium of clay," Ms Turton stated.

With ceramic artist and Gallery Education Officer Angie Russi leading a team of five practicing artists that includes Tina Lee, Ann Ferguson, Eric Brown, Lynda Draper and Vipoo Srivilasa, Little Treasures will provide a range of intensive and extended learning opportunities for students.

As Ms Russi explains, "Little Treasures provides the students with a great opportunity to meet and work with five ceramic artists who all work in very different ways and are influenced by a diverse range of ideas. Rural children often have limited opportunities to engage with contemporary art or meet professional artists. This project will allow the students to have two days of intense interaction with each artist and ask lots of questions!"

The title of the project "Little Treasures" comes from the idea that anything can be regarded as a treasure – it's the way you understand it, that makes a difference. As the project is also about improving learning outcomes, it will aim to have a professionally organised exhibition of student work curated by students.

The Extended School Residencies program is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council and by the Victorian Government through the Community Support Fund.