Primary School pupils open Art Gallery
18 Sep 2023

Coleham School recently opened their own Art Gallery with representatives from local Arts venues invited for the ceremony.

The school refurbished during the holidays to create the walk through gallery which includes displays for clay pottery and sculpture work.

Teacher Lottie Heap, Art Leader for the school said “It is really important that all children are able to see themselves as artists and so we wanted to create an inspirational space to showcase their work professionally. Every child can feel proud, even the smallest of sketches can shine in the right space”

Various exhibitions are planned for the coming year including Bansky work from Year 6 and exhibitions from staff and parents too.    

Every great gallery needs a name and the school have made tribute to a former Belle Vue resident and ex Coleham Teacher. The Townsend Art Gallery is named after Judy Townsend, founder of The Belle Vue Arts Festival.

Headteacher Tom Larkham said “The Townsend Art Gallery is the perfect name as Judy Townsend represented everything that is great about our school; Care, Creativity and Community.  She brought the arts to our local community with great passion and inspired so many children and their families. Everyone at Coleham, staff and pupils, look forward to getting involved with the festival each year”

The Belle Vue Arts Festival was founded by Judy in 2003. It recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is now an established part of Shrewsbury’s summer season, and Coleham pupil’s share their artistic talent with Shrewsbury residents and artists each year.

As Head of the partial-hearing unit at Coleham School, Judy Townsend collected thousands of Green Shield stamps to pay for hearing aids for her pupils in the 1970s.  She was also a magistrate for 28 years; an active member of the Shropshire Arts Society; an author and Mayoress of Shrewsbury. She died in 2011. 

Pupils gathered for the opening of the new gallery

Pupils played their part at the official opening, serving drinks and greeting guests from The Belle Vue Arts Festival Committee, Mrs Jones Gallery in Coleham, Shropshire Arts Society and Shrewsbury Museum and Gallery. Judy’s husband, Alan Townsend, attended to cut the ribbon before guests viewed the first gallery exhibition.

The gallery art has been kept top secret and covered over from the children but all classes are now able to view it this week and a celebration video is being released to parents.
Business Manager Tracy Othen said “creating this gallery and watching the space transform has been a delight, our children regularly visit galleries but to have our own is very special. Art matters to us and the children and staff deserve to work and learn in an uplifting and creative environment. Thank you to all our friends from local art venues for their continued work with Coleham School and for helping us celebrate this occasion”