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Students taking part in an animation workshop.
Students at a Lichfield school have been working with a professional artist to bring to life the inventions of Erasmus Darwin. Around 300 Friary School pupils joined Andy McKeown to learn how to animate some of Darwin’s work using new media processes. The project, which is part of a major community arts project funded by Tesco, saw each student produce their own short animation which when combined together will create a collection that will go on display at a free exhibition on August 21 at Erasmus Darwin House. Organiser Peter Walker said:
“The aim of the community art project is to bring in artists of the highest calibre to work with different community groups. Andy is an artist with an international reputation and I am delighted that we managed to bring him to the Friary School for a week to carry out this project. “By working with such artists, those involved in the workshops are getting a fantastic insight into what it is to be an artist, and furthermore an understanding of artistic possibilities. Tesco’s funding of the project is allowing access to a variety of artistic disciplines with the results being displayed to the general public.”
Andy’s work has already received acclaim in exhibitions across the globe, including a recent major work shown at an international projection art exhibition in Florida. And at the end of his week-long stay at the Friary School, he donated one of his highly collectable mono-prints. Tina Woodward from the school’s art department said:
“We have had a great week. Approximately 300 students and 10 staff have taken part in Andy’s animation workshop. All have embraced the new programmes and have been inspired to continue. “It has also had an impact on teaching and learning. The science department, Saxon Hill School and the art department will integrate the programme into new schemes of work. We are also looking at staff development for other subjects. “Andy’s enthusiasm and energy resulted in some interesting outcomes. We were all overwhelmed by Andy’s generous gift of an original piece of artwork to the school.”
The animations produced can be seen at the Life, the Universe and Darwin event, which is a free exhibition at Darwin House from 11am to 6pm on August 21.


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.