The Art Collection and me
From childhood friend to teaching partner
By Liz Pollard
I first encountered the County Art Collection at the age of 5, in a Hertfordshire Primary School. I can recall hours happily spent, attempting to re-create the works of art in a diverse range of media – chicken wire seemed to be at the heart of most things, supplemented by papier mache and powder paint.
My next memory of the collection is less auspicious, as a secondary school pupil. One year, the prize for the house raising the most amount of money at the summer fair, was to have a picture from the County Collection in the winners’ form room, for a whole term. Sadly my house came last – a fact made worse by the result the following year, when the offer of a half day holiday motivated my house to win by almost £100!
My first job, as an NQT, brought me back in contact with the collection, and I loved using it with the children, as a stimulus for creative writing, as a starting point for topics in History and Geography, and as an example for D & T – we even sometimes used it for Art! Such was my enjoyment of the collection, that the deputy head at my school gave me the responsibility of choosing, collecting and returning items. I was delighted, and didn’t let the drawback of fitting the boxes into my tiny MG Midget act as a barrier; I overcame it by only returning items on sunny days when I could have my roof down.
The collection and I continued to work harmoniously together through my next two schools, and alongside my ‘old friends’, new ones started appearing. Through the hard work and commitment of the curators, the collection was refreshed and revitalised with the acquisition of new works of art, and the refurbishment of older ones.
Today, the County Collection includes an amazing diversity of art from different times and cultures, across a range of themes. The opportunity for children to be able to work with original works of art is fantastic, and the possibilities for its use are endless. At least, it can be borrowed to enhance the school walls, and at best it is an invaluable resource for teaching art, and a dynamic basis for cross curricular work and themed schemes of work.
For me, the collection has had a significant impact, as a child, student, teacher and head. It has motivated and inspired me, and engendered a love of art. Children’s learning has been brought to life, and enhanced through first hand experience, and whenever I see artefacts remembered from childhood, it is like meeting old friends. This is a collection for all of our children in Hertfordshire schools, and could be the start of a lifelong learning partnership, as it has been with me.
Liz Pollard, Head Teacher, Codicote CE Primary School