The Captivated Eye is an ambitious and exciting project in which the children of 6th class at St Angela's Primary School in Castlebar have been given access to the art collection at Mayo County Council in order to create, or, in visual art terms, to curate an exhibition from the collection. The exhibition goes on show at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar from 20th October to the 26th November 2016.
The current 6th class pupils at St Angela's Primary School are particularly experienced in engaging with visual art exhibitions. So far during their primary school education they have visited 15 visual art exhibitions at the Linenhall Arts Centre's gallery as part of its Visual Art Programme for Schools. That programme consists of gallery visits during which the children engage with, and discuss the visual art on show. The gallery visits are coupled with workshops designed to enable the children to explore in a hands-on way some aspect of the art works they have just seen in the gallery.
The Captivated Eye takes the Linenhall Arts Centre's Visual Art Programme for Schools one step further, and engages the children in organising an exhibition themselves, from examining and discussing the various art works available to them, to deciding which work to include, writing brochure blurbs, deciding on the layout of the exhibition, devising text (as required) for display as part of the exhibition and spreading the word about the exhibition. Gaynor Seville, Public Art Co-ordinator at Mayo County Council, and Orla Henihan, Arts Access Officer at the Linenhall have been on hand to assist the children throughout the project.
Mayo County Council has been collecting art for many years and has now acquired a substantial collection of almost 200 works. The County Council augments its art collection with new acquisitions on a regular basis, which includes paintings, prints, photography, sculpture and mixed-media works, by artists from or living in Mayo, or those who have exhibited in the county. Works are displayed on a permanent basis in publicly accessible space in county council buildings around the county. Parts of the collection are also exhibited in a variety of exhibitions and there is also a schools exhibition programme. The participants in The Captivated Eye project have chosen a short-list of nineteen works from the collection, including pieces by Camille Souter, Veronica Bolay and Bernie Bohan. With support from their teachers they are gaining an in-depth understanding of these nineteen pieces through in-class discussions about each work using an approach called Visual Thinking Strategies which was developed in the early 1990s at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From these nineteen works they will curate their exhibition.
"The Captivated Eye" exhibition is a partnership between the Linenhall Arts Centre and Mayo County Council's Arts Office working with St Angela's Primary School, and will be officially opened at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Thursday 20th October at 1.00pm. All are welcome to attend. The exhibition continues until Saturday 26th November.