Pool Academy secondary school is in heart of Cornwall. The school’s catchment area is in the top 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England. Among other things lacking in the community, there is little arts provision and it is this imbalance that the Pool School Gallery project has aimed to address in its pilot phase.
A detached building on the school premises has been transformed into a new arts space of exceptional standard, available for the Academy and the wider community. Artist and educator Jonty Lees has lead this project and from the outset he placed responsibility with these young people to help shape the Gallery, trusting them to deliver as professionals.
FEAST funding has enabled two artists of international renown to take up residencies with the Gallery, making new work that’s been exhibited there. Turner Prize nominee Hilary Lloyd took up residence, followed by the acclaimed Norwegian artist Morten Halverson. Lloyd made a new body of water colour paintings, a radical departure from her usual work. Halverson developed new sound pieces and sculpture, sharing this process with the students and taking them on cultural trips to explore galleries locally.
The Pool School Gallery is also housing works from the Cornwall Council Schools Art Collection. By making pieces from this wonderful collection accessible to Pool, local people now have the chance to experience well known Cornish art where they otherwise couldn’t.
This project has strengthened local connections between Pool Academy and the community and forged new cultural relationships. Through working with the Cornwall Museums Partnership; the Pool School Gallery undertook Arts Award training and has become an Arts Award Centre.
The ultimate ambition moving forward is for the community at Pool Academy to continue to develop and deliver a permanent project space of high quality international art.
Painting: Blue Development by Victor Pasmore, 1964 (Cornwall Council Schools Art Collection)