The National Trust at Montacute House has recently collaborated with Take Art Early Years as part of a far reaching community project funded through the property’s shared learning programme with the National Portrait Gallery. It was created and overseen by Tracey Derbyshire, Visitor Engagement Officer at Montacute House.
Participating groups were South Somerset Mind, the Alzheimer’s Society, 1st and 2nd West Coker Brownies, Monday Movers over 50s dance group and Stoke sub Hamdon’s Castle Primary School Early Years. The overarching theme was one of “Generations”. The make up of the various groups enabled a truly intergenerational feel and focussed particularly on the portraits in the Long Gallery at Montacute House in which different ages are represented.
Take Art managed the early years element and approached the Head of Early Years at Castle Primary School with an invitation to join the project. Project funding enabled ceramicist and visual artist, Caroline Barnes to develop and deliver four highly interactive and creative sessions for the children to participate in and included a memorable and awe inspiring visit to the Long Gallery at Montacute House.
Tracey Derbyshire said 'The children all enjoyed and benefited from a high quality and enriching experience together with an introduction to portraiture and the world of a National Trust property. Their final art work was celebrated and displayed at the project’s poignant sharing day in Montacute Village Hall on Saturday, 31 October when all the participating project groups came together with friends and family to showcase their individual pieces of work.
Based on the success of this whole project, it is hoped that similar collaborations will be possible in the future.'