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Zac’s Blog – Entry 43/44 (22nd June – 1st July 2015):

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back. I decided to combine last weeks and this week’s entries together since this week (29th June – 1st July) is a short week as I am on holiday from the 2nd all the way through the following week, using up the last of my holiday allowance before I finish in August.

Once again I hit the ground running a bit during the first week with a trial set-up as part of a workshop taking place on Wednesday. Because of the size of the school group visiting us from Holy Head School we needed to set up and additional room in the space behind the Family Gallery on the ground floor. My job was to clear out the space of any superfluous items and materials in order to make room for the four tables and chairs that need to go in the space. Whilst a little cramped, it is still a viable option and so I left the tables in a disassembled state ready for their immanent use on Wednesday.

I then spent the afternoon with a group of our regular artist teachers who get hired in to do workshops at the gallery; they were working on new examples and tests for the up and coming summer workshops taking place at the outset of the six week school holiday. My job was to hunt down various materials and items in our General store as and when they were needed or, in the case of a particular item, to go out to the local shops and see if they were sold anywhere.

Wednesday saw a visit from Holy Head School, were the groups were involved in three workshops featuring different forms of print. Additionally, there was a need for a third workshop to be set up behind the family gallery on the ground level which needed to be arranged carefully due to the confined nature of the space it would be taking place in. The kids turned out some amazing work which I documented and uploaded to Pinterest, which you can see in the attached link:

Throughout the week, whenever possible, I also set to making examples for the new Art Cart activities being generated ready for its implementation in the coming months. We still don’t have an exact start date for this but I am hoping it will be very soon as I would like to see it get underway before my time as an Education assistant here at the gallery comes to an end. You can see some of the fruits of my labours in the pictures attached to this entry, but fear not for there is plenty more to come!

My boss and I did however have a meeting about the ideas I have had for it and I am pleased to say that out of the 48 activity designs only 2 were rejected due to either the nature of the task or the potential mess caused by the left over’s from the task itself, so all in all a great turn out!
I also helped set up Baby Palace again this week and assisted with its take down.

The second week was spent (however briefly) with the Technical Department, and we began by cleaning up and refurbing the Artist-in-residence studio room, located on the first floor corridor, ready for the next group to take over on the 2nd. This essentially involved repairing any damage to the walls with filler, repainting said walls, cleaning the floors and also cleaning the kitchenette area in the room. Hopefully the new artists will be happy with the state the room is now in.

For the rest of the day, we spent our time in the 4th floor conference room, which is getting a new overhead projector. This required a lot of threading of power lines and cables through overhead alcoves and rigging up the new devices ready for use. This has been done to give a more professional look to the conference room and to make the set-up of presentations, films or simple audio that much easier as all the equipment needed are essentially already in the room ready to be activated.

Tuesday began with a visit to the Walsall Civic Centre, my first real taste of work as a technician anywhere outside of The New Art Gallery Walsall. Essentially my role was to assist the member of security driving the council van get into the parking zone outside the building which required talking with the reception team to raise the barrier. After the van was parked up I then set out a series of thick blankets to cushion the art while it rested in the van. These art pieces were then secured with security rope to the inside walls of the van to prevent movement during transport.
Once back at The New Art Gallery Walsall the team and I quickly unloaded the van before it was returned to the council’s transport department by our member of security.

We then continued our work on the 4th floor, adding in the new wiring connections to the amps installed on the wall and placing the new all purpose audio unit into an alcove room. This device allows for the alteration of the amp’s volume, base, and the ability to plug in additional audio equipment like microphones and laptops which all feed back into the overhead projector set up on the Monday.

Wednesday began with a quick setup for a meeting that required a projector before I got into the main task for my day. Down in General Store we needed a large wipe-board fitting onto one of the concrete walls so that our boss can write instructions and log what is currently going in and out of the new store area. This normally wouldn’t present me with much difficulty, however because this board was a bit heavy and needed to be secured by four fixings (one for each corner) I found at one point I was struggling due in part to a slightly off measurement in one of the corners. Fortunately this was a rectified without too much of a headache and I was able to help the other technicians with their jobs afterwards. It has helped to highlight that I am a bit out of touch with this area of my job and could really do with spending some time at home practising before the next install.

So there you have it again folks, a double dose of activity for you and time for me spent learning a great deal of new skills and techniques. As stated at the beginning, I will be on holiday for the next week so don’t expect an entry until the following week, where we will be in the final month of my placement here at the gallery (my, oh my, how the past year has flown by!). Please join me then for what will hopefully be a full on set of action packed weeks. Until then folks …

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Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary 2015/16 – Submissions Open

The Shape Arts Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary (ARMB), set up in memory of sculptor Adam Reynolds to support mid-career disabled artists, is now open for submissions.

This year’s successful recipient will be awarded £5,000 and a three-month residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall in January 2016.

The bursary provides an opportunity for artists to develop their ideas and practice without pressure to deliver a particular outcome such as finished or exhibition-ready work. Previous residencies have been hosted by The V&A, Camden Arts Centre and Spike Island, Bristol.

World-renowned sculptor Sir Antony Gormley RA, patron of the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, commented:

‘Adam was inspirational as an artist and a man – seeing his disability as a strength. This bursary is the most practical and powerful way to continue doing what Adam did to make the possible palpable.’

The 2014 / 15 bursary recipient Carmen Papalia commented:

‘This model for support is not only difficult to come by given the current cultural landscape, it is exactly the sort of action necessary in healing the gap between disability and contemporary art.’

Submissions deadline: Monday 27th July – 12 noon

To download an application pack please go to www.thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk/info/opportunities

- please note you must include the monitoring form with your application.

For more information about this opportunity, please contact us via: armb@shapearts.org.uk or 0207 424 7366 (voice)

For press information, interviews or images, please contact: James Monteith via james@shapearts.org.uk or 020 7424 7353 (voice)

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Zac’s Blog – Entry 41 (8th – 12th June 2015):

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back and welcome back to the first week in Education I have done for a very long time (close to two months if my calculations are correct!).

To begin with this week, my boss had left me instruction while she was away on the Monday to finish off some workshop materials that will be used with visiting groups as an activity. This primarily involved finding images of art work on our digital collections image gallery that matched up with the information already printed about said pieces and the task/activity associated with it. These were then laminated together back to back.

I also needed to cut out and laminate a series of images relating to buildings (again, this will be part of an activity for visitors) which also required laminating. These will be part of an activity for our Exhibition bags found in the ground floor foyer, which we encourage you to pick up and have a go with when you visit the gallery.

The other ongoing tasks that took place over a couple of days involved the cutting up of A2 sized paper into A4 so that they can be used in a Silkscreen Printing workshop at a later date.
In relation to the Exhibition bags mentioned earlier, some of you might also be pleased to learn that the Art Cart is making a return under a new form! It will return as a new activity bag, making it much more mobile and flexible! Its early days yet and I am still finalising the ideas with my boss but I am confident that soon it will be back in action so keep an eye open for it and let us know what you think of the new activities.

To that end, I spent spare moments during my day to work on ideas that I think would be in the same vein as the activities found in the previous incarnation of the Art Cart. With the limitations of a stationary table now gone I have been able to think of activities that can take the user all over the gallery rather than centre them to a particular location. I like to think this will encourage our younger visitors to visit more of the gallery than they might have done previously.

We also had a couple of school visits this week who needed lunch areas setting up for them, which I was able to do before returning the tables in time for a conference on the 4th floor. I also needed to set up a laptop and projector for a meeting on Saturday for a group of artist teachers before I left for the day.

So that about wraps it up again for this week ladies and gents, I hope you will join me again next week for more antics in the Education Department. See you then!