by Tracey Kershaw, Nottingham
My vision to create a gallery for children was prompted by the worldwide pandemic situation.
Aside from my visual arts practice, I teach art in primary schools, but like many things, this ceased in March when COVID-19 became prevalent in the UK. Opportunities to create and show my own work were limited, with many events cancelled. When schools closed I wanted to use my time productively and creatively.
Using current domestic external spaces, and considering the context of broader cultural factors, the front window of my home became a way to display art. The ethos was to integrate a gallery into the local neighbourhood and wider community, offering creative activities and exhibiting opportunities to children during this period of isolation.
Based within the heart of a Nottingham suburb, my home window gallery was free for everyone to access, with the artworks easily viewable from the street. Daily walks were advised by the government, and consequently, the weekly changing exhibitions had a devoted and regular audience.
Initially, participants were the children who attended my art groups, but gradually others heard about the project, and soon I had a large/core group of contributors. Each week, I emailed them a different theme, and before long my inbox was full of amazing creations. A selected of these were exhibited in the weekly window exhibition – with all other submissions publicly visible online.
The project ended after almost 3 months, with a competition to highlight the children’s talent and commitment. Overall, 36 children participated, creating 127 different art works.