Tour de France art project with Addingham Primary School

Children at Addingham Primary School and their Tour de France art which can be seen from passing helicopters. Picture by Thomas Bolland.

Children at Addingham Primary School and their Tour de France art which can be seen from passing helicopters. Picture by Thomas Bolland.

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CHILDREN at Addingham Primary School have, this morning, delivered a massive art project on their school field to celebrate the Grand Départ of the Tour de France.

Dr Abigail Harrison Moore, a former Ilkley Grammar School student who is now the head of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (FAHACS) at the University of Leeds, has been working with Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies alumna, Nicola Bayntun, and the children on the ambitious art project.

The aim was to complete a work of art that will be seen by the helicopters flying down the Wharfe Valley over the coming weekend of the Yorkshire Grand Départ.

Addingham is the only village in Yorkshire to have the Tour visit twice, both on Saturday and Sunday.

As an art historian and the new Head of School for Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Abigail was keen to make sure the children thought about how other artists have made work about cycling as well as producing their own art.

Nicola and Abigail launched the project by leading an assembly for the whole school where the children were asked to link the history of their village and its roots in the spinning industry, through to the idea of moving wheels to power the mills and transport. They were introduced to the development of the Futurist art movement in the early 20th century and paintings such as Umberto Boccioni's 'Dynamism of a Cyclist' (1913).

Children in Years 3 to 6 then worked in mixed year groups to create pastel drawings based on what it feels like to ride a bike fast, some of which will be shown in shops in Addingham over the next few weeks. Year 5 children used their numeracy skills to measure the playing fields and work out the best place and scale for the final art work.

Nicola Bayntun then drew together aspects of all of the children's work to produce the final design which was created in the school field this morning, Friday, July 4. The art work will involved all of the children, some on their own bicycles, scattering compost containing wild flower seeds so that their design will last more than just the weekend of the Tour. They were helped out by school gardener, David Burlison, who marked out the large-scale initial design on the grass.

The idea for the land-art project came out of a decision made by headteachers from 12 primary schools in the Wharfe and Aire valleys to celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France. Hilary Gallacher, headteacher at Addingham Primary School, contacted Abigail and Nicola who were delighted to take the lead.

Mrs Gallacher said: "May I take this opportunity to thank Abigail Harrison Moore and Nicola Bayntun for helping us with this project. The children and staff have loved being part of something so special and we are all very grateful for the time and energy they have put in to make this such a success.

"We have all been incredibly impressed by the quality of the designs and the wonderful way the children have engaged with the project. Nicola has combined elements of the work completed by the children to create our final design.

"I for one am really looking forward to seeing our work on the big screen. Addingham is the second village in the history of the the Tour de France to have the race visit it twice so there should be double the opportunity to see things from the air."

Abigail Harrison Moore added: "I was delighted to be asked to lead this project with Nicola. This has been an excellent opportunity to enthuse children on the topic of art history, and to see them connecting this and the industrial revolution to the present day has been inspiring."

The art project at Addingham Primary has taken inspiration from Fields of Vision, an ambitious land art project organised as part of the Yorkshire Festival.

Commissioned land-art along the route of the Grand Départ includes Ripples at Stanbury Reservoir, created by Trudi Entwistle, a recent Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the University of Leeds.

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