The Whitworth Art Gallery Learning team are exploring the ways that they can use their new Clore learning studio when the Whitworth reopens in October this year. One element of education that is particularly important to the Whitworth is learning through play and as a result the concept is used frequently in our culturebabies and toddlertasticsessions.
Playing offers children important opportunities to develop their imagination and creativity, whilst group play helps children develop their social skills. The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art has explored these concepts further and recently opened their latest exhibition Atelier Public#2. The exhibition runs for 4 months and sees the gallery space at Goma handed over to both children and adults for creative play. This is the second time the gallery has run the project, as their first exhibition in 2011 was so successful. The gallery provides visitors with materials to create their own works of art, which they can then install within the space as they see fit. Over the course of the exhibition the gallery is constantly transformed according to the creative decisions made by its visitors.
For Producer Curator Katie Bruce the project offers an opportunity to research the relationship between imaginative play and art institutions. By creating works of art for exhibition in a public gallery, visitors are not only able to express themselves creatively but also participate in a social activity by displaying their art alongside others. Similarly visitors can gain inspiration from others, even adding to or developing artworks that have already been created by their peers. The project therefore demonstrates the possibilities for community engagement that the arts present.
Half way through the project a destruction event has been arranged, where visitors can take part in removing objects in the Atelier Public#2 gallery to make way for new projects. Again there is a collaborative approach being practised here, as the community make way for new creative opportunities together.
The Atelier Public#2 project at Goma shows that providing spaces for creative play in public art galleries can help develop a community spirit and encouraging social interaction through artistic means. The success of the project in Glasgow is great inspiration for the learning team at the Whitworth. Our learning studio will provide a unique space for playing within the art galley, and allow us to promote the themes of social engagement and community participation that are so important to the gallery.