A group of 11 local children with visual impairment have unveiled a series of sculptures which will go on permanent display in the grounds of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax.
The pieces were produced as part of a Children in Need-funded project run by the children’s museum, in partnership with visually impaired artist Lynn Cox, RNIB and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The collaborative sculptures, entitled ”Favourites”, incorporate some of the children’s favourite toys and are the result of an innovative three month-long project where the children met regularly with artist Lynn and members of the Eureka team to take part in discovery sessions at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and creative sessions at Eureka museum.
Children in Need awarded Eureka £9,330 to develop the project, to enable visually impaired children to learn about visual art and develop their skills and confidence by creating their own pieces of art for display at the museum.
In all, 11 visually impaired children and their siblings - 20 children in total - participated in the project.
Trizia Wells, Eureka Inclusion Manager, said: “We had increasing anecdotal information from the families of visually impaired children that their access to visual arts – both creating and experiencing – was at best limited and, at worse, almost impossible.
"When we surveyed 60 VI families we discovered that more than 45 per cent felt that their child’s needs weren’t catered for by art galleries, museums and exhibition spaces, with more than a third simply choosing not to visit those cultural venues in the previous year.
"We’re proud of our track record on inclusivity at Eureka and felt we had identified an area where we could bring genuine improvement and enrichment to the lives of blind and partially sighted children. The generous support of Children in Need enabled us to develop that project further, and into partnership with Lynn Cox, RNIB and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
"The sculptures that our young artists have created are vibrant and tactile, and we’re proud that thousands of other children will get to enjoy them in the grounds of Eureka when they are installed in the new year.”
Artist Lynn Cox said, “Not only have the artistic skills of the children developed substantially over the course of the project, but they’ve grown in confidence as they’ve learnt that visual impairment should never hinder their ability to be creative. Eureka! has made the project possible with their guidance and vision for giving everyone the opportunity”.
Candice, mum to Lucy, one of the children taking part in the project, said: “it has been a pleasure and a privilege to take part in such an inspirational and incredible project, for us as a family and with Lucy's additional needs it can be very difficult to find activities that suit and also interest her!
"It was lovely to be able to meet other families who understand and equally you're not having to constantly explain as to why your child is different, having Lynn who is also sight impaired leading the project was amazing too as she could relate to and understand the different needs of the children!
"She particularly picked up on that Lucy reacted to sound so incorporated the bells and cow bells into her sculptures, not only was this taking Lucy out of her comfort zone but I also feel she learnt how to "tolerate" having complete strangers including children working around and interacting with her!
"Petting Danny Lynn's guide dog which is something that Lucy may need as she gets older so again we were learning how she might cope, the best part of this experience is how Lucy immediately explored the finished sculpture loving the feel and sounds it made she's never done anything like that before so for us it was a real breakthrough!
"Thank You to Eureka, Lynn, all the families who participated I truly hope that this is the beginning of more incredible adventures.”