Majesty; Kids Art Exhibit at St Mary’s

Ha! Stand aside established local artists, we’re talking about the artists of the future here! If you’re knocking around Devizes this extended weekend, do pop into St Mary’s, the former church soon-to-be arts centre, where children from Wansdyke, Southbroom and Trinity schools have worked with professional local artist Joanna May to produce a mosaic of their tributes to the Queen for the Palatium Jubilee.

There are some great pictures on display, my attention particularly drawn to one WW2 depiction, an ingenious use of a postal stamp, an astute and beautifully rendered pencil sketch of Windsor Castle, and one which made the Queen look uncannily like Lisa Simpson! There are no names on the pictures but whoever drew these ones would’ve won if I were the judge, although I wasn’t, and it wasn’t a competition anyway. But well done to all the children involved, they look super!

Two local children who took part in the project were at the grand opening of the event with the Mayor and Mayoress and Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Devizes. From left-to-right: Rosemary Stevens (Deputy Mayoress), Cllr John Stevens (Deputy Mayor), the Rev’d Jonathan Poston (Rector), David Evans (historian), Shirley Urwin (exhibition organiser), Cllr Peter Corbett (Mayor of Devizes), Chris Corbett (Mayoress), Kate Walling (schools project volunteer). 

 Photo credit: Gerry Lynch.  

Joanna, who owns a gallery on Northgate Street, visited all three schools, shown her skills and encouraged the children to create these artworks, but unfortunately caught Covid and couldn’t continue with her emblem-shaped mosaic design. So, working on her idea the members of St Mary’s had to get their own creative juices flowing to create the final piece, which looks fantastic. All best wishes for a speedy recovery, Joanna.

Another good reason is to have a nose around St Mary’s, this glorious 12th century church, where information is displayed about the campaign to make this into a thriving arts centre. It’s been a laborious journey obtaining the permissions, but detailed plans have been drawn up and are on display. The transformation is inclusive of retaining the aesthetics of this beautiful church, but opening out the central area to provide a flexible, multi-use space. There will also be an extension to the rear of the church, with a patio for outdoor activities.

Presently, one can be captivated in anticipation just by imagining the acoustic value inside. Yet the million-dollar question remains, how long will this take? Depends on how we as a town embrace this project and attend its fundraising events. For now, though, St Marys are positive things are moving steadily for this exciting project.

The exhibition is free, running until Saturday (4th June) from 11am-3pm; that’s my contribution to the jubilee done!


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