Young people’s art group gets set to take over Norwich Castle
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
One of the country's biggest modern art shows is in the city this summer and a team of young people are taking over Norwich Castle on Saturday to put on a special event inspired by the exhibition. Arts correspondent EMMA KNIGHTS finds out more about the free event that everyone is invited to.
Visitors to Norwich Castle this weekend can look forward to a free cultural celebration created by a team of young people keen to spread the word about British Art Show 8.
The ambitious touring exhibition showcasing the best of British art is in Norwich for the summer, with more than 100 cutting-edge works displayed across the castle, Norwich University of the Arts and The Forum.
On Saturday night people are being given the unique chance to interact with the works at the castle thanks to the creative efforts of NUA students and members of the Young Norfolk Arts Festival who are 'taking over' the historic venue for the evening.
They are following in the footsteps of the Koons Collaborative which last year put on events based on the Jeff Koons art exhibition hosted by the castle.
Their aim is to inspire and excite people of all ages and from all walks of life about BAS8 with a fun and free night of entertainment including craft workshops, music and more.
Sarah Horton, learning coordinator for BAS8 in Norwich, has been overseeing the project along with another BAS8 takeover event planned for NUA in August with different students.
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'The idea with the castle takeover and also the NUA takeover is to open up the exhibitions at the different locations to maybe a different audience to help them understand the art and appreciate the art in a different way,' she said.
'The art show represents some of the best art in the country. What we are trying to do is celebrate the fact that it is in Norwich and that Norwich people can experience it on their doorsteps.'
The castle takeover team has already been championing BAS8 by creating a colourful float decorated in flags for the Lord Mayor's Procession last Saturday. Ms Horton said it was designed in part to echo artist Alan Kane's The History Train which used heavy horses to deliver all the BAS8 artwork in June.
'We wanted to make the float eyecatching and accessible to attract people to the British Art Show galleries. All of the students designed up to six flags each... it was almost like a moving installation of art through the city,' Ms Horton said.
'We are going to use the same flags to decorate the entrance to the castle so people can make the connection between the two.'
She said the team had lots planned for Saturday night and that visitors of all ages would be invited to take part in activities inspired by BAS8 and the theme of language.
'We will invite people to make collages and we are going to have a graffiti wall and a pop-up gallery for the collages to go on. Storyteller Shey Hargreaves will be here and she's going to be asking visitors what they think of the exhibition and from that she's going to create a poem which we will publish on the evening and hopefully on the BAS8 blog...We are also going to have a DJ and a rap artist here as well, and rumour has it that Laura Morgan the soprano singer will be here to activate the Cally Spooner's piece [of artwork] through her singing as well.'
Ms Horton said as well as offering visitors an innovative way of experiencing the British Art Show, the project also aimed to give the young organisers important work experience.
'They have had to pitch the idea to the team here at the castle, so it's been a way of opening up their eyes to the world of arts curation and arts administration. Hopefully it feels like they are getting a lot out of it as a professional project as well. They have been great, really committed to it all the way through.'
Among the castle takeover event organisers is 20-year-old Becky Showell who has just graduated from NUA with a degree in fine art.
'The experience with the procession and putting on events and interacting with people will definitely help me in the future,' she said, adding that it was an amazing experience working on a project involving such prestigious artwork, and that she was looking forward to seeing different people's reactions to the BAS8 artwork on Saturday night.
'I just think it [modern art] is really eye-opening and you get to see the world from different points of view.'
Emma Rose, 21, a NUA fine art student, added that it was great such a huge art exhibition had come to her home city and she hoped lots of people would get involved with Saturday's takeover event.
'There's loads of activities for a massive range of ages. I think it's a really inclusive way of people experiencing art.'
Meanwhile Denny Petrova, a 17-year-old Gresham's School pupil who got involved with the project throught the Young Norfolk Arts Festival, was keen to highlight that art was so much more than 'just something pretty to look' and that Saturday's event offered a unique way to experience British Art Show 8.
'It's not just about coming to see the art, it's about coming to interact with it. It's going to be a lot of fun.'
Ella Smith, a 19-year-old graphic design student at NUA, agreed and said BAS8 coming to Norwich was a real landmark for the city.
When asked why she was passionate about encouraging people to come see BAS8 and engage with modern art, she said: 'It's a reflection of our society as a whole, it's important for us to engage in that and I think there's something here [at the BAS8 exhibitions] for everyone. You have got printmaking, sculptural work, videos as well, it's such a diverse collection.'
The full team behind the castle takeover event led by Ms Horton includes: YNAF members Rosie Fitter, Sophie Fletcher, Lizzie Gaskin, Joe Hislop, Denny Petrova, Evie Sims and India Wollocomne; NUA members Charlie Barkus, Liz Monahan, Emma Rose, Rebecca Showell, Ella Smith and Amy Sutters; and YNAF staff Lucy Farrant, Hannah Cott and Rose de Lara.
• The takeover event at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery is from 5pm until 10pm on Saturday. Entry is free for the castle takeover event.
• A second BAS8-inspired takeover event by a different group of students is planned at Norwich University of the Arts on August 6 from 5pm until 9pm. More details will be available nearer the time.
• For more information about the Young Norfolk Arts Festival visit www.ynaf.org.uk