15 May Firstsite in Colchester release new pack of their lockdown initiative
More than 55,000 people have now downloaded Art is where the home is – an innovative initiative by Firstsite in Colchester to help keep young people entertained and engaged during the current coronavirus lockdown.
Version 3 of the pack is released today (Friday 15 May 2020), including an activity designed by Essex artist Grayson Perry. The Turner Prize winning artist has produced The Character Game, saying “This is a drawing game that my daughter Flo loved to play when she was young between the ages of maybe 8-12 but I loved playing it too so it’s for any age.”
He goes on to describe thinking of a character and drawing them, then you draw who they live with, where they live, inside their home, drawing them on a journey, at work and on holiday -“Draw each step on a separate piece of paper, fill the page and draw quite fast, don’t over think it just lose yourself in the story and the detail. Talking about it with someone else while you are doing it also adds to the fun, it helps to build the character.”
Grayson adds “Tomorrow you can do the whole thing again with a new character who is very different and may take you to different places and introduce you to new characters. Keep all your drawings, maybe you could illustrate a story with all the characters together. Before you know it, you may have a book!!”
The gallery asked a selection of artists – including Antony Gormley, Jeremy Deller, Gillian Wearing, Michael Landy, Ryan Gander, Idris Khan and Annie Morris – to create a fun activity that doesn’t require special equipment. Combined, the activities create downloadable activity packs which is available for free at www.firstsite.uk
In pack 3, alongside Grayson Perry’s activity, Hurvin Anderson shows how a favourite TV programme or film can inspire some “Not so still lifes”, Zoe Beloff invites you to create and explore planets with activity, and Daphne Wright uses fruit and veg peelings to create homemade pets. The pack features activities from 19 artists in total*.
The activities are for everyone – though particularly perfect for children and young people to do at home along with their parents and carers. They are designed to be fun, some topical, and bring people together through art and imagination at this difficult time. Everything in the pack follows the ethos of the acclaimed Firstsite Holiday Fun** programme.
Since it was launched on Friday 3 April over 40,000 packs have been downloaded, with many people – from as far afield as Spain and New Zealand – sharing their creations on social media using the hashtag #artiswherethehomeis and also in the Firstsite online studio – https://firstsite.uk/online-studio/
A French version of Art is where the home is will, launch this week thanks to a partnership with Paris based Théâtre du Châtelet. A selection of the activities have been translated into French and will be available to download for free on the Châtelet website (www.chatelet.com).
Firstsite is also now working with a number of charities and organisations who are using the pack to help their members. Fiona Curran, Director of Arts at Koestler Arts – a charity which helps people in the criminal justice system in the UK to express themselves creatively – says, “It’s been great to be able to widen our entrants’ access to the arts by using Firstsite’s sheets as a source of activities. Being able to inspire prisoners who are coping with lockdown here in the UK, with an activity by an artist in India, via Firstsite in Colchester, for example, really helped us open the world back up a little.”
Sally Shaw, Firstsite Director says ‘When we made Pack 1 none of us were quite sure if anyone would be particularly excited about something as hands-on as an activity pack, especially when we know how much time everyone spends on screens these days. With over 55,000 packs distributed in total now (which means potentially more than 150,000 individuals in households across the country using the packs) it’s wonderful to see that creativity in all its forms is alive and well in all sorts of minds everywhere. It would be great to see what ideas of their own children and families are coming up with – maybe we can make a pack of a selection of the best ideas to share with everyone?!’
Art is where the home is can be downloaded from www.firstsite.uk