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The Great Barrier Reef Project

5th July 2024

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The Great Barrier Reef Community Art Project


“If children grow up not knowing about nature, they will not understand it, and if they don't understand it, they won't protect it, and if they don't protect it, who will?” David Attenborough


When Mark Taylor, Head of A-Level Art and Design at Alton College, read these stirring words, he decided to do something to introduce children in schools in and around Alton to the dangers engulfing our natural world.  Working within his area particular area of interest – the ocean and the threat to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – he embarked on a community wide art project featuring graphics, stencils, paintings and a stunning display of Coral Crochet.  All this work culminated in a visual feast entitled ‘It’s My Life: The Great Barrier Reef Community Art Project’ at the College in early July, in collaboration with the Alton Arts Festival.


With generous sponsorship from the Alton branch of Brewers Decorator Centres and the Hampshire & IOW Area division of The Arts Society, Mark was able to provide local primary and secondary schools with 140m of paper on which to create a vibrant visual example of the Great Barrier Reef – some full of colourful fish and bright living coral, but much bleached white and empty. It created a powerful message, which the children working on the project took to heart. Mark spent time at each of the participating schools,  showing the teachers as well as the children how to create the underwater scenes from the stencils he created, and at the same time explaining what the impact of climate change can be.  Once each school had created their undersea world, they were brought to the College and assembled along the walls in a great visual display. The effect is stunning as well as thought provoking.


The project has been enhanced by the contribution of the Coral Crochet project – stunning representations of sea creatures in vibrant colours and imaginative displays. All of these have been on display in the foyer and corridors of Alton College for the public to view. In addition, members of the staff and pupils of Alton College created dance, poetry and drama performances to provide a strong and important artistic project for all the area’s educational establishments.


Mark is justifiably proud of the concept which brings together so many local elements. He is hoping it will be possible to move the project to another location later in the year: it certainly deserves to be seen more widely. In the meantime, he deserves congratulations for his vision and drive, as well as enhancing the relationship between Alton College and the local schools whose pupils will be studying there in the future.


Click on the picture (below) view video clip.
Click on the small box ꙱ in the bottom RH corner to view full screen.

Click on the posters (below) view in larger size

A member of The Arts Society
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