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2017 saw The Heathland School become a part of the national Artsmark program, which is being led by the Art Department’s Head of Art, together with staff from Performing Arts, English, Design Technology and of course students from the School Council. This is a two-year process which will see not only Art and Photography but all arts recognised and celebrated at The Heathland School.

As a part of the ARTSMARK program, the arts award has been introduced to year 12 students as an option for Recreation. This involved year 12 students meeting and working with artists Ruth Mariner and John Varah from the Same Sky Winter Lights project.   Throughout the year students created photographic chemigrams and bamboo sculptures covered with cyanotype photographs. Some of these beautiful works were used in an exhibition showcasing their work at the Watermans Centre, in Hounslow.

Links and visits with universities and art galleries continue to be a highlight of the Art Department’s annual calendar. Kingston University joined our year 12 and 13 students for a portfolio day demonstrating activities and skills that universities would find attractive during interviews for foundation and bachelor courses. They also spent time with year 11 GCSE Art and Photography students talking about University course options and different ways to research and respond to artists.

Slade School of Art was also a destination for year 12 students as they went to visit the graduate Masters and PhD show and were able to talk with students and course directors. Students responded well and were excited to see work being produced by artists in their next stage of higher learning. Bridging the gap between an artist who is studying and an artist starting in a professional field, was inspiring and attainable.

No school year in an Art Department would be complete without taking advantage of being so close to London and all the galleries London has to offer. Highlights on this year’s trips included the Tate Modern to view their general collection for year 11, 12 and 13. Year 12 and 13 students were able to sample the delights of a Friday evening exhibition when going to the Barbican for Basquiat: Boom For Real. Year 12 students were so inspired by this exhibition that they created expressive and emotional collages paintings the next week into in response to what they saw.

Year 11 Photography students visited the Photographers’ Gallery as well as the commercial gallery Hamiltons to see darkroom prints by the Japanese fashion photographer Hiro. Meanwhile the year 10 photography students visited the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in search of portraits- painting or photographic - to inspire their first project.

2017 also saw the introduction of a new collection of activities for year 12 students. This included visits to Chatsworth Primary School, to help with their Art Workshop week. An exhibition of their work before Christmas was enjoyed at lunchtime by many students in the school, as were their mentoring sessions in year 11 GCSE lessons. The highlight of their activities promoting Art and Photography included an impressive assembly sharing their understanding of Why Art is Important.

Overall the 2017-2018 academic year was a busy and successful one including these many activities as well as beautiful work produced from students across all the year groups. We will finish the year with our Key Stage 3 Art Exhibition which will show and celebrate the diversity of work achieved by all students at The Heathland School.