Pupils at Croy Primary and Fortrose Academy get a close-up view of world-class art
Two sculptures, loaned by Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, were taken into Croy Primary School and Fortrose Academy as part of a programme run by cultural and education charity Art UK.
They were a 19th-century marble bust by Alexander Munro of Kenneth James Matheson, son of Sir Alexander Matheson, the 1st Baronet of Lochalsh and Fladday Reliquary, a more contemporary work by Will Maclean echoing a religious relic but with a focus on natural elements such as a gannet skull and wood.
Scottish sculptor Mary Bourne was also involved in the event, part of Masterpieces in Schools, which aims to bring children
and young people into direct contact with high-profile artwork along with practising artists
who showcase their sculptures on site and deliver a sculpture tutorial.
Ms Bourne took inspiration from the marble bust to run clay workshops for S3 pupils at Fortrose Academy and also worked with all 88 pupils at Croy who were inspired to create their own precious box containing objects found in nature such as acorns and shells, and decorating them with a variety of bling.
“Two things struck me particularly during the workshops,” she said.
“The first was how the sculptures acted as windows onto all sorts of other subjects. For example, as well as talking about how the sculptures were made and what they meant, we talked about how marble is formed geologically, how fashions for children have changed down the years and how gannets catch fish.
“The other thing that impressed me was just how motivated and creative the young people were.
“They took on board all they had learned and, in a short time, produced work they could be really proud of.”
Fortrose Academy art and design teacher Liz Walker said the portrait bust was much admired and commented on by the pupils.
“The practical, hands-on workshops were very informative from learning about the tools used in carving marble to creating a portrait in clay,” she said.
The Masterpieces in Schools programme, which aims to visit 125 schools across the UK by next May, is being made possible thanks to grants from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.