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Artist hopes ‘gorgeous’ student exhibition will help bring more art into Highland classrooms

Plockton Primary School pupils show off some of their artwork in front of 'Covid: A Child's View,' a collaborative piece between more than 300 Highland schoolchildren.

Schoolchildren in the north are showcasing their talents in a community art project.

Many Skye and Lochalsh schoolchildren found solace in art during the pandemic and the new Kaleidoscope community art exhibit is the result.

During lockdown, local artist Sarah Longley arranged virtual art classes for students from Kyle of Lochalsh and across the bridge on Skye.

And she wanted to give students a platform to showcase their talents. The finished product, Kaleidoscope, features work by young artists from across the western Highlands.

Scroll through to see a gallery of some of the pieces.

Where to find the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit?

The Kaleidoscope community art exhibit ran in early November at the Old Bakehouse Gallery at Create in Kyle.

Charcoal drawings of different seashells by Kyle Primary School pupils on display at the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit..
‘Shells in Charcoal’ by Kyle Primary School pupils with Sarah Longley. Supplied by Sarah Longley
‘Autumn Leaves,’ mixed media and recycled materials, by Kyleakin Connections. Supplied by Sarah Longley

In March 2020, local artist Sarah Longley organised a Facebook group called the Skye and Lochalsh Kids Art Club.

Kids and parents shared artwork that they’d created during lockdown, and Miss Longley decided to stage the Kaleidoscope exhibition once restrictions eased.

“It’s an absolutely gorgeous exhibition and we’ve had such a warm reception from the community.”

Kaleidoscope community art exhibit: Kyle Primary School pupils stand with their creation 'Our Kyle,' a colourful acrylic painting of their vision of their hometown.
Kyle Primary School pupils with their creation ‘Our Kyle.’ Supplied by Sarah Longley
'Covid: A Child's View' is a collaborative work by students featuring bright colours, Covid-19 symbols, irregular shapes and finger painting on display at the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit in Kyle.
‘Covid: A Child’s View’ is a collaborative work by students from Kyle, Plockton, Kyleakin, Auchtertyre, Loch Duich, Glenelg and Broadford Primary Schools. Supplied by Sarah Longley
‘Sail,’ inspired by ‘The Owl and the Pussycat,’ by Irene Blair and Kyleakin Primary. Supplied by Sarah Longley

‘Art is a force for good’

Miss Longley recently led a group of other local artists in an Art in Schools programme, organised and run by Atlas Arts. Along with Malcolm Mackenzie, Irene Blair, Isabel McLeish and Rebecca Collins, Miss Longley hosted child-led art workshops in schools around the area.

She said the positive impact of the art lessons was almost immediate.

“We can see that all children have the urge to make art. It absolutely pours out of them when given the opportunity.

Drawings of lions, dogs, chickens, ducks, bumblebees with goggles, and other fun animals by Fergus, aged 10, are on display at the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit
Drawings by Fergus, aged 10, are on display at the Kaleidoscope exhibit in Kyle of Lochalsh. Supplied by Sarah Longley

“Art is a force for good. It’s a right that all of us have. I think I’d probably go mad if I didn’t have my art. It helps me feel connected to the world.

'Charcoal and Pencil Trees' by Isabel McLeish and pupils at Auchtertyre Primary, on display at the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit
‘Charcoal and Pencil Trees’ by Isabel McLeish and pupils at Auchtertyre Primary, on display at the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit. School. Supplied by Sarah Longley
Cyanotypes, or sun print, of different items found in nature on display at the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit.
‘Cyanotypes’ or sun prints, by young people working with Simon Larson at Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust Workshop. Drawings by Kyleakin Connections. Supplied by Sarah Longley

More about the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit

To see more of the stories behind the artwork on display, visit the Kaleidoscope community art exhibit Facebook page. There you can see work from students at Kyle, Plockton, Kyleakin, Auchtertyre, Loch Duich, Glenelg and Broadford Primary Schools.

And if you want to see the artwork in person, there might be just enough time to pay a visit. The exhibition is running at the Create gallery in Kyle of Lochalsh until Wednesday, November 10 at 5 p.m.

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