Looking back on a year of success


Tom Barnes, Reporter

The past 12 months have once again been challenging for arts education in the UK. With government priorities seemingly focused elsewhere, provision in schools continues to be difficult for many teachers.

But despite these issues, Artis is celebrating a year in which it has brought the arts to life by working with thousands of children of all ages in schools across the country.

Marking its first anniversary as a charity, staff, specialists, trustees, friends and supporters of Artis met at the LIFT centre in Islington to reflect on the achievements of the past year.

The event also marked the launch of the charity’s first annual report which illustrates the impact the charity has had on children’s wellbeing in schools across the country.

Attendees heard about the progress made by Artis since its formation as a charity in 2017, before taking part in a series of exercises used by specialists in schools to get a hands-on experience of how children learn during sessions.

Artis trustee Lord Michael Bichard chaired a panel, where participants shared their thoughts on the future of arts education and stories of children whose lives they had personally seen transformed by the arts.

Lynne Gavin, headteacher at Pakeman Primary School in Islington, addressed the room, to explain how working with Artis had a profound and positive effect on her pupils.

“Many of our children do not have access to the arts at home, many have never been to the theatre,” she said. “Their experience is very limited so we need to counter that by working with brilliant organisations like Artis.

“I passionately believe that the arts can be transformative, it helps children open their minds and realise their ambitions. It gives them a safe space to get away from the pressures of their everyday lives and relieves stress.

“School should be a happy place. I want children to love coming to school and love learning, and Artis is one of the ways to do that. The arts bring us together by giving us wonderful shared moments.”

June Stevenson, Artis chief executive, added: “It was wonderful to gather and celebrate the magical work that Artis has been doing with so many children over the past year.

“We were particularly touched by the power and number of stories about the incredible difference our Specialists have been making in the lives of children facing disadvantage.

“We have been so energised by this ground-breaking first year, but as we move into 2018/19, we are only too aware of the challenges ahead.

“Funding for the arts and the place of the arts in schools both remain in great jeopardy and the ‘arts gap’ continues to grow.

“We are deeply committed to reaching more people who are missing out on high quality arts opportunities and it was fantastic to have the chance to talk about this with supporters old and new.”

To read the Artis Foundation’s Annual Report please click here.

07 Nov 2018

Registered Charity Number 1174635