‘Smarti Minis’ art is a start for Wantage and Grove project

Smarti Minis boxPaintings of Wantage and Grove landmarks by some of the district’s youngest artists have gone on display, as part of a new public art and performance initiative.

Ten paintings by children aged two to four have gone up in the wall-mounted display boxes of Wantage’s Victoria Cross Gallery. The project is part of a new initiative by Wantage’s town team, who are looking to encourage opportunities for local people of all ages to display examples of their art work or perform music or theatre in the town.

The full list of paintings on the theme ‘What to see and do in Wantage & Grove in Springtime’ is:

1. King Alfred’s Statue – Anabelle Bright – Age 2
2. Betjeman Stones – Deri Wilson – Age 2
3. Old Town Hall – Aimee Lyford and Jake Aram – Age 3
4. Parish Church (St Peter & St Paul) – Flynn Denboer – Age 4
5. St Mary’s Chapel – Cleo Denboer – Age 2
6. Wantage Tramway Station – Anya Bell – Age 2
7. Vale & Downland Museum -Summer Langley – Age 2
8. Grove Venom Plane – Marek James – Age 2
9. Wessex Flour Mill – Tomi Yoshida – Age 2
10. The Bear Hotel – Florrie Broadbent – Age 3

The painting project was co-ordinated by creative designer, Natalie Bright of Art Haus Club, who runs Smarti Minis art classes for young children in Wantage and Grove. Natalie says: “We had great fun experimenting with lots of different mark making materials, chalk, pens, scrapers, rollers and paint. The little ones produced artwork with lots of sticking and gluing to create an abstract collage representation of a Wantage and Grove landmarks. Hopefully they’ll inspire some creativity and activity by encouraging others to check out the local places to visit and see.”

One of the artists, 2-year-old Anya Bell, said: “I love painting and using glue. I enjoyed painting my train and making flowers.” Another, 2-year-old Anabelle Bright, said: “Making lots of mess is fun; we get to splash the paint with the brushes and our hands.” Donna Brown, one of the mums who helped out, said: “We have not been living here long so it was interesting to find out about the landmarks in Wantage and Grove.”

The landlords of Victoria Cross Gallery kindly agreed to let the project use the display boxes by arrangement with their agents, Benedicts. The initiative is the latest by Wantage’s town team as part of a project being driven by a partnership involving Wantage Town Council, the Vale of White District Council and Wantage & District Chamber of Commerce. Mayor of Wantage, Fiona Roper, says: “I think it’s a great idea to brighten up the VC Gallery displays with colourful children’s paintings of Wantage and Grove. I’m looking forward to seeing more public art on display as part of the project to brighten up our town centre.”


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