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Project Dandelion

Project Dandelion has been working closely with the seven schools involved in the Building Schools for the Future programme across Wolverhampton. Throughout this past twelve months Coppice Performing Arts School has commissioned public artwork for their new school building and as a result have a number of stories and images have occured and are shared in this page.

Still Life with Movement

Still Life with Movement is a new public art commission created by Mick Thacker, made up of two wall mounted light works that has been installed in the main atrium space at Coppice Performing Arts School.

The artwork was inspired by a series of photographs taken by students at the school whilst working in collaboration with photographer Ming de Nasty as part of Project Dandelion's engagement programme. The aforementioned photographs can be seen in the school's dining hall. The form of the work is based upon a group photograph set to a timer and captures movement of people while in a static pose.

Utilising the luminous colours captured in the photographs, the artist has transferred the two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional form, echoing the original subject matter of the photographs, and reflecting the overall theme for the Public Artwork at Coppice - Light and Movement.

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

The Performer

Mick Thacker's The Performer has been installed at Coppice Performing Arts School. Sitting on the surface of the new building The Performer can be seen immediately as you enter the school grounds, as a visitor or member of the school community, it is the first thing you encounter.

The artist said:

"Finding a form that encompassed all of the elegance and grace that captures the activities within Coppice Performing Arts School proved a real challenge. While wanting to refer to the performance specialism I also felt it important not to exclude any one single art form."

Ribbon Dancing has been practiced for over 5000 years but is little known in the west. The activity can be undertaken by individuals or groups to musical accompaniment or without, you require little technology but the simplicity of space. It is a unique activity that straddles gymnastics and dance, music and movement. The form of the dancer and ribbon become one creating a poetic and subtle gateway work.

During daylight hours the reflective material echoes the weather conditions that abound. By night the sculpture transforms into a silhouetted form that is haloed by white light, creating a theatrical and fitting welcome to the school.

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Change Exhibition

The Change exhibition is a celebration of work created by Year 9 Performing and Visual Arts students from Coppice Performing Arts School in collaboration with photographic artist Ming de Nasty, dance artist Rosie Kay and sound artist Sarah Wilson.

The starting point for the exhibition was the BSF programme and the changes to the school building, with a focus on structural change, drawing on imagery such as 'deteriorate', 'growth', 'expand' and 'crumble'. At the time of the project the school was in mixed conditions with some areas being new build, some areas in the middle of the build process and others being old and untouched.

Inspired by Eadweard Muybridge, Thomas Eakins and Etienne-Jules Marey and their early experiments into capturing movement using photography, the images in this exhibition showcases work that explores Change, Light and Movement developed and directed by the students.

Prior to the photographic ideas being developed, the students worked with Dance Artist Rosie Kay and Sound Artist Sarah Wilson to explore the Change theme through dance choreography and music composition. The exhibition has been installed in a newly built corridor space that connects the school hall to the Dance department.

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Ming de Nasty residency 2

Ming de Nasty worked in collaboration with 50 students from Year 9 (those that had opted to take one or more of the four 'arts' subjects - Art, Music, Dance, Drama at GCSE level) over Summer Term 2012 to develop a series of photographs based on the 'change' theme.

The starting point for the project was the BSF programme and the changes to the school building, with a focus on structural change, drawing on imagery such as 'deteriorate', 'growth', 'expand' and 'crumble'. The school is currently in mixed conditions with some areas being new build, some areas in the middle of the build process and others being old and untouched. The project was also inspired by Eadweard Muybridge, Thomas Eakins and Etienne-Jules Marey and their early experiments into capturing movement using photography.

Ming de Nasty's residency followed workshops in Dance and Music led by Rosie Kay and Sarah Wilson, where responding to the theme the artists in collaboration with the students generated choreography and sound that will be performed by the young people at the Coppice Dance Festival in July 2012. The photographs produced will also be launched at the Festival.

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Light and Movement exhibition launch

To mark the launch of Light and Movement, an exhibition of photographs produced by students who worked in collaboration with artist Ming de Nasty, a celebratory event was held on the evening of Thursday 15 December 2011. Alongside the exhibition, Flexus, the school's dance company, created a new site specific performance in response to the imagery depicted in the photographs.

Over 100 guests were in attendance, including students, staff, parents and members of the local community.

"I think the way that the images were printed & exhibited in the new building was really important for the students, and it gave them the opportunity to show off their work and take pride in what they had created. This exhibition was very professionally presented and exceeded my expectations."

Ming de Nasty, Photographic Artist

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Ming de Nasty residency 1

During Autumn Term 2011 Birmingham-based Photographic Artist Ming de Nasty worked in collaboration with Year 12 BTEC Art & Design students (in collaboration with GCSE Dance students), Year 11 GCSE Art & Design students, and Year 7, 8 and 9 Gifted and Talented Art & Design students to explore the overarching Public Art theme at Coppice Performing Arts School - 'Light and Movement'.

Taking inspiration from the history of photography and in particular Eadweard Muybridge's pioneering exploration of movement, the students have learnt new skills and techniques for capturing motion using digital and pre-digital equipment, supporting Project Dandelion's contribution to the pilot of the BTEC course at Coppice.

The project culminated with an exhibition of photographs, curated by the Year 12 students, that have been permanently installed in the newly refurbished school dining hall.

"We enjoyed the experience and particularly working with the visitors to get ideas and opportunities for our work." ~ BTec Art & Design students
"The projects have made a significant contribution to the BTEC, GCSE and G&T groups they have benefited greatly by Ming's influence, style, experience and technical knowledge. The team have helped guide and develop students with their units and objectives enabling them to gain and absorb the best experience as possible. The G&T group have had the chance to experience art and design at a level that the school is currently unable to offer. Both the students and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the team."
~ Claire Tarnawskyj, Head of Art, Coppice Performing Arts School
"The whole experience was very positive, I enjoyed all aspects of the project. I was initially very excited by the theme as it could be interpreted in many different ways. The resulting quality and amount of work we produced in such a short time has far exceeded my expectations. I loved how enthusiastic the students were and how their confidence of taking photographs has increased."
~ Ming de Nasty, Photographic Artist
"We like that our work is on display permanently (in the school) as people can compliment us and see how we've developed through the course."
~ BTec Art & Design students
"Working with the artist has been a great experience to see how their specialism can be adapted to suit different key stages and various projects across the curriculum. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in such a fantastic project that the students and staff have gained from. We are looking forward to the next phase involving other curriculum subjects and combining the artists and schools specialist areas."
~ Claire Tarnawskyj, Head of Art, Coppice Performing Arts School

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Students visit Wolverhampton Art Galleries

On 1 December, Year 12 BTEC Art and Design students visited two venues in Wolverhampton City Centre - Wolverhampton Art Gallery to see the Willie Doherty exhibition and Light House to see Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography. The purpose of the visit was for the students to experience the varying techniques for curating photography, gaining the relevant knowledge for curating their own exhibition of photographs that they've produced in collaboration with artist-in-residence Ming de Nasty.

Huge thanks to Ann Ennis at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Kathryn Kliszat at Light House for providing informative talks about their organisations and current exhibitions.

"We were able to get expert advice on putting our work on display and got the opportunity to go to galleries to get even more advice." ~ BTec Art & Design students

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Tumbler (After Muybridge)

Tumbler (After Muybridge) is a new public art commission created by Mick Thacker, and as the title suggests is inspired by the early photographic experiments pioneered by Eadweard Muybridge.

Before today's sophisticated film technology Muybridge sought to discover how movement could be captured using sequential single images and in 1877 and 1878 used multiple cameras to capture motion in stop-action photographs - a series entitled 'Animal Locomotion' which captured the animal acts of running, jumping and flying.

Tumbler (After Muybridge) uses a similar technique, tracing the movement of a gymnast tumbling across the facade of the new Sports Hall building, reflecting the school's Performing Arts College status. The artwork also references the overall theme at Coppice - Light and Movement, which is visible across all of the Project Dandelion work at the school.

The artist said of the work,

"I consider this work to be a sculptural experience realised in two dimensions. The viewer experience of the work changes as the position of the viewer changes. This is influenced by the weather and time of day as well as the way the lighting within the building activates the work particularly in the hours of darkness."

Photographs courtesy of "Project Dandelion Commission"

Project Credits

The Copyright of each artwork is shared between the creator/the artist and the commissioner Mick Thacker Studios Ltd.