Students’ Views on Artist’s Work Feature in New Baltic Exhibition

Students from The Northumberland Church of England Academy at BALTIC where their Sound Collage features in the new Rodney Graham exhibition

120,000 people will hear their voices

“Art lets people’s feelings out”

“Everything is art really. There’s not right or wrong in art”

Students turned top critics when their views on the work of an international artist became part of a major exhibition at one of the North East’s top galleries.

Y7 students have been working with BALTIC Contemporary Art Centre and local artist and writer, Stevie Ronnie, to explore how visual arts can inspire creative writing.

Now their own interpretations of the work by the renowned artist, Rodney Graham, feature in a major exhibition which opened at BALTIC on March 17.

Over 120,000 people are expected to visit the exhibition which was given a five-star review in The Guardian and featured on the BBC.

Their “Sound Collage” is the first time the gallery has integrated community involvement into the main show and their comments will be heard by visitors as they walk around the exhibition.

At a special VIP preview, the students had the chance to meet the artist himself.

NCEA students meet artist Rodney Graham at BALTICTeacher of Art & Design, Louise Gatti, said: “Rodney Graham is viewed by critics as one of the greatest living artists of our time and this was an amazing project for students to be part of.

“Rodney came over to speak to them and told them that he loved their work and ideas. It was a very proud moment for all involved.”

Described as a “shape-shifter,” Rodney Graham is a Canadian artist whose genre-defying avant-garde experimentalism has confounded and thrilled audiences in museums and galleries all over the world.

He combines the roles of painter, photographer, writer, philosopher, actor, psychologist and musician and this exhibition features works in film and video along with his photographic images.

Steve ronnieThe Sound Collage project, carried out in partnership with New Writing North, is part of The Max Reinhardt Literacy Awards 2016-17 for creative writing and literacy work with schools, galleries, art museums and visual arts venues in England.

Vicky Sturrs, Schools and Colleges Programmer at BALTIC, said: “BALTIC believes in the power of contemporary art to provide alternative lenses with which to view the world.

“The project has supported pupils to creatively explore the themes and ideas associated with contemporary art and visual literacy.

“It has also improved engagement with, and understanding of, creative writing and produced outcomes that provide an alternative voice to interpret the show for peers, teachers and general visitors.”

As a result of the project, a resource was created for art teachers and arts educators designed to share some of the methods that were employed. This can be found on the link below:

MRLA Residency Resource