Students from across Harrow with special educational needs have produced some incredible artwork as part of a recent creative arts project run by the charity Create.
Between January and March 2021, Create delivered 60 workshops with SEN children in Harrow through its three-year changing:mindsproject, which is enabling children to explore environmental themes creatively.
The project is supported by John Lyon’s Charity, with additional support from CA Redfern Charitable Foundation and David Solomon’s Charitable Trust.
The project, which started in 2019, uses art, dance, music and theatre to explore the environment with students at all five SEN schools/units in Harrow. Last year, the project examined underwater worlds.
This year, the children learned about the earth’s rich diversity of natural environments and the animals that call them home. Next year, the project is set to wrap up with an exploration of the sky.
To celebrate the culmination of the project’s second year, theparticipants came together for an online showcase of their work on Thursday 11 March.
This was attended by their families, Harrow councillors, school staff, and Create’s funders, Patrons, Trustees and staff.
The artists led the audience through an incredible exhibition of the children’s creativity: a dance inspired by melting ice caps, a drama about an imaginary new world, sculptures of animals inspired by indigenous artwork, comics starring superheroes saving the world, and much more.
The children’s creations were widely admired by the attendees, with one guest enthusing: “Beautiful dancing, fabulous art and fabulous storytelling!”
The showcase concluded with a speech by world-renowned concert pianist, Create Patron Nicholas McCarthy, who expressed his admiration for the children’s talent.
He said: “It was truly amazing to see the scale of talent of the children involved, their imaginations and their engagement in the workshop.
“For me as a Patron of this charity [this project] confirmed to me the need for people to have creative outlets at all stages of life, especially when we collectively face the difficulties that we have all faced of late.”
Reflecting on the project, one participant said: “Thank you for giving us this opportunity. The workshops were really fun, and we really achieved something!”
One staff member said: “It has been a wonderful experience and the children enjoyed it greatly. They have been able to learn dance, share, take turns, explore different activities and take initiative.”
Create CEO Nicky Goulder said: “It was truly inspiring to see the incredible artwork that these talented young artists created.
“Bringing the children together to be creative and express themselves is important every year, but even more so during the pandemic, when we have all been struggling with stress and feelings of isolation.
“This project has been vital for keeping the children connected, building their creative skills and enhancing their wellbeing.”