The Hanleys’ Community Art Project (April 2012)

… at Hanley Swan Church of England Primary School

The atmosphere was electric. 30 children (aged between 4 and 6) waited with excitement for the start of the ‘Community Art Project’ day, with a man who could carve stone – Michael Scheuermann.

The day began with a rollercoaster tour through Michael’s photos. He took the children on a journey across continents, through many different cultures and over a variety of rocks from past and present. Throughout the ride he kept every child engaged with many poignant and challenging questions – all of which the children answered confidently and honestly. It was a delight to see such young children engage with the subject.

The children were soon keen to see how Michael could carve rock and after a demonstration of the tools he uses, he did not disappoint. All he needed were his tools, a piece of Malvern rock and a child from the class. Moments later he had carved the child’s picture into rock just like magic. It was an inspiring moment for everyone watching and gave each and every child a positive feeling and a ‘can do’ attitude to start the rest of the day’s work.

Hanley Swan is a beautiful village, every adult knows this, but do the youngest members of the community appreciate it? The answer is a resounding YES! The next task Michael set was for the children to draw their favourite parts of the village and draw they did. There were pictures covering all aspects of the Hanleys, from birds on the pond to games under the giant oak tree, to favourite buildings and to their favourite places to go with their family. The children did themselves proud by not only coming up with super ideas but applying their creative skills to draw tricky and in some cases abstract concepts. The whole time Michael’s calm and steady personality helped every child to feel at ease and have a go!

Following a well needed lunch the children were soon gathered back in the hall for the next part of the day – modelling with clay. Michael gave each child a slab of clay and, following a skills demonstration, let them loose on creating their very own three dimensional Hanley Swan model. Once again the children demonstrated how young people can have a mature attitude to work, with the creation of some fantastic and very creative models.

The day finished with a huge ‘show and tell’ of all the work to the parents, carers and anyone else who was interested. The hall was full of people looking at the drawings, the clay models, photos of the day and talking to Michael. Everyone that visited the hall was full of excitement for the project.

  Paul Bundy – Reception Year Teacher