Holmfirth Christmas Parade

Another lovely project  for our children and young people- the Holmfith Christmas parade takes place on 26th November at 4.30 and will be shimmering and glittering with gorgeous icy crowns, Jack Frost masks and wonderful capes depicting wintery scenes.

The children and young people have embraced the opportunity to create sculpted wearables and to represent winter through shape, colour, form, imagery and surface.


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Our pre-school children relished painting on the cloaks and needed no direction to explore different ways of applying the paint:

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Whilst our Drawing for teenagers group made some fantastic drawings of the Jack Frost masks:

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Our 11-16yr olds took a range of approaches to painting their cloaks  abstract, patterned, traditional:


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A great project to unleash individual creativity but to also create a wonderful sense of joint purpose and common goals….  Can’t wait to see how the costumes will look when all the children and parents parade together through Holmfirth…look out for our Jack Frosts glowing eyes!


The Children’s Art School is expanding into Huddersfield town centre bringing more opportunities for hands-on creativity to more children and young people in Kirklees.

We are very pleased to announce that we have secured funding from Kirklees Councils Arts in the Neighbourhood scheme for a 6 month residency in Huddersfield’s Byram Arcade starting in January 2017.

The organisation already provides art clubs and workshops for children and young people as well as creative days for school groups in their studios at Hope Bank Works, Honley.  ‘We aim to promote and provide high quality art education for children of all ages’ says Director Chloe Williams. ‘From our Little Art Club for 2-4 year olds to our Drawing Course for teenagers and adults we have art clubs and workshops for children and young people of all ages’.

The organisation became a registered charity in May 2015 and now has 70 children a week taking part in regular hands on, creative activities.

What did your children make with their hands today?

“We are committed to promoting the value of art education for developing innovative and creative thinking skills and for developing self-confidence and well-being in our children and young people. There is an increasing concern about the amount of time our children and young people spend on screens and how they are less and less connected to their physical world.’”

Chloe says she is concerned about the myth that art education is unimportant and has no purpose. “Art education is a crucial part in the ongoing success of our creative industries. The Children’s Art School aims to unlock children’s creative potential, practical capabilities and individual problem solving skills necessary for designing, making, innovation and manufacturing.”
Chloe stresses that Art Education is not about encouraging all children to become artists or designers (although the creative industries do generate £8 million per hour and is the fastest growing sector of the British economy) but is also about equipping children with creative thinking skills that will enable them to be successful in all areas of their lives and in any career.

The 6 month residency at Byram Arcade will focus on working with local children and young people from age 3-16yrs to create a range of 2D and 3D collaborative art works which explore the history, culture and visual environment of Huddersfield, a town shaped by the creative industries. Art works created will be exhibited in a variety of spaces around Huddersfield. Earlier this year the organisation was responsible for creating paintings which now hang along the river in Holmfirth and were part of the team that created the visually spectacular Holmfirth Arts Festival Creature Carnival Parade.

“We are really excited to be setting up a space in the beautiful Byram Arcade, where we are sure creativity will flourish.”

The clubs to be offered at Byram Arcade include Little Art Club (2-4year olds), Junior Art Club (5-7yr olds) Intermediate Art Club (9-11yr olds) and Senior Art Club (12-16year olds). Some clubs will be after school and some will be part of the Saturday Art School. There will also be workshops in the school holidays.

If you are interested in what The Children’s Art School can offer your children or if you want to book a place on one of their clubs you can contact us via email- thechildrensartschool@gmail.com or through social media at fb.com/artspace.holmfirth   or @artinholmfirth.



Hope Bank Project

All our groups have been busy imagining what Hope Bank Pleasure Gardens must have looked like

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Little Art Club have created flowers for the garden and a train for visitors to ride in..



and have used printing techniques to create a train track…


Intermediates have been drawing carousels using charcoal and collaged characters into them





While Seniors have created a huge backdrop showing the layout of Hope Bank pleasure gardens and created costumes to set the period..



Join us on October 29th to find out more and imagine how it once was at Hope Bank.

Hope Bank project

“Wanted – your memories of Hope Bank Pleasure Grounds”

Family Open Day – Saturday 29th October 1pm-4pm

We have been working with Holme Valley Sharing Memories group to create a range of artworks to support their open day  inviting residents from the Holme Valley to share their memories of Hope Bank Pleasure Grounds near Honley.   


The event will give people an opportunity to find out more about the history of Hope Bank and bring any objects and stories along that might be of interest.  There will also be plenty of activities for younger members of the family including opportunities to dress up, drawing and puppet making.

Sharing Memories staff will be on hand to record anecdotes of interest and local film maker Gopal Dutta will be capturing people’s stories on camera.

The event is part of a project called ‘Pleasure Park Stories’, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Members of Sharing Memories, who are all in their 70s, 80s and 90s,  have been uncovering the history of Hope Bank and talking to other groups in the area about their memories of the pleasure grounds.

Hope Bank Pleasure Grounds was the brainchild of John William Mellor, a farmer who bought the land in 1895 and set about transforming what he called a ‘howling wilderness’ into a pleasure park.

By 1906 there was a merry-go-round and a miniature steam train and visitors paid a penny to go in plus extra for the rides.

At its peak, in 1948, the attraction drew crowds of up to 50,000, nearly five times the then population of Honley itself.

In the first two decades of the 20th century it was home to huge dances and brass band contests, some of which were reported to be very acrimonious. Churches and working men’s clubs organised special ‘chara’ trips to the grounds from all over Yorkshire, and trains and trams were used to transport visitors to Hope Bank for their day’s amusement. In winter the grounds opened for skaters to use the frozen ponds.

The pleasure grounds included two boating lakes, ornamental gardens and flower beds, a novel bicycle railway, a zoo, tea rooms, donkey rides, miniature railway, indoor roller skating rink a shooting gallery and many more attractions, including a helter-skelter.  Hope Bank finally closed in 1955 and Brook Motors, a factory which made electric motors, was built in its place.

Project Manager, Sally Brown, is keen to gather as many local anecdotes as possible:

“Because Hope Bank Pleasure Grounds was such a significant attraction in the area, of which virtually nothing remains, we want to capture the stories of people who remember visiting  either Hope Bank or other pleasure grounds from  their youth.

“Our group is based at Hope Bank Works so it seemed fitting to try and record the history of the place before it’s too late – many of the residents who have strong memories of Hope Bank are now in their late 80s and 90s.”

As part of the Open Day stories will be recorded and a short film will be made for next year’s Holmfirth Film Festival.  There are also plans to do a performance of some of the memories captured and produce an education pack for local schools.

Sharing Memories uses the arts, memories and life experiences as a spring board for projects with older people, schools and the wider community.   For further information about the group’s work go to www.sharingmemories.org.uk or call Sally Brown on 01484 968551

Creature Carnival

Creature Carnival- Holmfirth Arts Festival 2016


The Holmfirth Arts Festival is nearly here!

We are so pleased to be part of it again this year

We will be helping to create a Creature Carnival inspired by the story of Holmfirth’s Fenella the Tiger. This carnival will see wild and wonderful creatures on the streets of Holmfirth again!

We will be working with Handmade Parade of Hebden Bridge:

The Children’s Art School has been given the category of birds so our older groups  have been busy designing and creating bird masks :


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Do come and join us! the public workshops are completely free and you don’t have to book! Let’s make Holmfirth a spectacualr Creature Carnival!

Public workshops:

5th June 2pm – 5pm
10th June 4pm – 6:30pm
12th June 2pm – 5pm
16th June 4pm – 6:30pm




Ebb and Flow paintings

Ebb and Flow paintings installed!

The paintings for our Ebb and Flow project have been installed along the river wall underneath the Picturedrome..and they look amazing!

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They were up just in time for the Holmfirth Folk Festival  so have been seen by thousands of people!

The river area in the centre of Holmfirth is an area that residents and local businesses have been keen to imprprove. The paintings will be in place for at least 6 months thanks to Peter Carr at the Picturedrome.up

city project

City Project

Over the last few weeks we have been creating a city in the studio.

First there were the big prints and collages by Little Art Club and Junior Art clubs. They imagined  skyscrapers and drew their own houses using monoprint techniques.


Juniors and Intermediates explored the idea of a city skyline using monoprinting techniques:

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Then Little Art Club, Juniors and Intermediates started building skyscrapers with cardboard boxes and tubes:



and then explored how to create concrete colours by mixing primary colours.

Colourful chimneys were added!


Our Monday evening drawing class started the big drawing…

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and the city started to take shape…


Little Art Club loved creating roads and buses to drive about the city…



city gang

The cardboard city has made a great subject for learning about perspective…



and then applying it on a large scale…


now the city is almost finished our young artists are developing monsters who are going to start to inhabit… and even destroy the city….watch this space!!


Letter 2

…a further communication with our MP about creativity in education

I believe it is disingenuous to suggest that schools/teachers/parents actively want academisation.  Academisation ultimately will allow business to run education with no involvement from parents: how can this ever be in our children’s best interests? I have not met any parents who support this (both personally and in my role as Director of The Children’s Art School).
The line ‘driving up standards’ is misleading. I can tell you that the standard of children’s ability and confidence in being creative and of hands on making and manipulating materials is going down. I can tell you as a parent that I don’t care what ‘level’ my child is at. I want to know that they are confident, can problem solve for themselves and that they are enthusiastic about learning. There are far too many children struggling with all of those things because the classroom environment and the emphasis on passive learning  to pass tests is not conducive to meaningful learning. And there are too many children being made to feel as though they are failing because their strengths do not lie in academic subjects.
You say you want what’s best for our children so I would also ask you to consider the need for our children to learn to be creative.  Perhaps you could answer these questions:
  • Why is your party actively pushing arts out of our education system?
  • Why do its policies not take into account and look to embracing our children’s differences?
  • Why do the policies not support diverse learning experiences?
  • How do you defend the way your government has actively undermined the value of creativity in our education system?
  • How do you respond to what I have said about the need for creativity in education and the need to give our children the ability to think for themselves?
I hope you will reconsider the importance of creativity in our children’s lives and education as a vital ingredient for their successful futures.

Acadamisation: bad for creativity

My letter to our local MP about the Governments proposed plans for acadamisation


I am writing to implore you not to support the governments plans for academisation. I cannot understand how the evidence provided by the existing acadamies can be taken to suggest that this is a sensible or desirable option.
I set up The Children’s Art School as a response to the under-valuing of art education and to champion and promote arts experiences as a crucial part of a our children’s education in terms of child development and well-being, in terms of developing innovative and original thinkers who have the skills to tackle whatever the future has in store for them and in terms of the future of our creative industries.
Through various roles within art education I have become increasingly worried about the lack of focus, at both primary and secondary level, on creative thinking.
I cannot understand why this government continues to place no value in teaching children to be creative. The creative sector of this country has been globally admired for decades and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport itself published  figures revealing that our creative industries are now worth £84.1 billion per year to the UK economy and generate nearly £9.6million per hour. As the creative industries continue to grow, we need to nurture the future generations of talent that this industry will need.
Teaching children and young people to be creative however is not just about creating artists and designers for the creative industries. All industries, from medicine, to computers to banking need innovators and original thinkers.

Heres a quote from our website:

A good place to start when trying to explain the value of art education is by asking ‘what does art do that maths doesn’t?’  Here are some answers:

art teaches you to make your own decisions
art teaches you to consider alternative solutions
art teaches you that mistakes can be opportunities
art teaches you to take risks
art promotes curiosity
art teaches reflective thinking
art develops problem-solving skills
art allows you to be yourself
art facilitates a sense of achievement and well-being

Creativity is crucial for our childrens futures. In order to meet the challenges that they will be faced with they will need to be INNOVATIVE. They will need to be good at PROBLEM-SOLVING and at looking for ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS. They will need to have the confidence to think their own thoughts and make their own decisions.
Art Education is not about encouraging all children to become artists or designers (although the creative industries do generate £8 million per hour and is the fastest growing sector of the British economy) It is about equiping children with skills that will enable them to be successful in all areas of their lives.

We are also faced with the challenge of an increasingly digital world. And yet, for young children, the opportunity to explore the physicality of the world around them is understood to be crucial. Art education for young children offers:
engagement with the physical world
exploration of materials
learning through doing
development of fine motor skills
development of communication skills
development of problem solving.

Art education allows children to experiment, to find things out for themselves, to make their own decisions and to have the confidence to take risks. Quite simply art can teach children to be  innovative.

Jason,  Acadamisation and the Ebacc support a one size fits all approach to education which is bad for our children’s development, bad for our creative industries and bad for our childrens mental health and well-being. I cannot understand what it is your government is trying to do and my fears for the future of our education system is keeping me awake at night.