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New Voices, Newlyn Art Gallery

Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange

Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange is an educational arts charity and Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, which presents contemporary work in all media by regional, national and international artists across its two sites in West Cornwall. Cornwall Council supports this cultural organisation thanks to an annual revenues grant. 

New Voices is jointly funded by the Arts Council England and Cornwall Council. This programme is exploring ways in which it can give voice to different communities and individuals as curators, as an Arts Council Collection National Partner, drawing on the 8,000 works contained within the Collection.

For its first project, they invited a year 5 class from Newlyn School to select 10 works to be exhibited in their school for a year. The children selected works that they felt a direct connection with.

“Our children feel so privileged that we have been entrusted with this artwork; they feel valued and feel they have a voice. The impact on their self-worth has been significant,” said Isabel Stephens, Headteacher

A series of activities has been developed with the school to punctuate the year, including Arts Award Explore for Year 6, a creative writing session delivered by The Writer’s Block for Year 4, a Big Draw event with the whole school and a Palace of Culture, originally programmed for June 2020, but now planned for a date in 2021.

The second New Voices project Go On Being So is an exhibition curated by the MBA Collective, a group of art, photography and graphics students from Mounts Bay Academy, aged between 12 and 16, which opened at Newlyn Art Gallery in February and will remain on show when the gallery reopens.

An incidental conversation around what it means to be a global citizen was the starting point for their exploration of the Arts Council Collection, bringing together an intriguing selection of works that say something about the world today and their place in it. MBA Collective looked for works which “…said something about big issues for us personally, which are universal to people of our age such as mental health and equality…” [Izzy].

Displayed concurrently at The Exchange, in the centre of Penzance, is Hippo Campus: Where We Learn, an exhibition that explores alternative schooling, peer-to-peer learning and self-education. During the temporary closure, film and audio works are available online. Hippo Campus’ Lunchtime School continues as a group zoom session on alternate Fridays.

The gallery is now working with LGBTQIA+ young people, through the Intercom Trust and their YAY groups, to develop an exhibition and programme of events in 2021 to celebrate queer histories and creativity. Another project using the Arts Council Collection to open up conversations will be with WILD Young Parents Project, a Cornwall-wide charity supporting young families.