More than 300 paintings by pre-school children across York and Ryedale were on display at Terrington Hall School on Saturday 19 May in an exhibition to mark the inaugural York & Area Pre-School Art Competition in which 14 children were named prizewinners.
Designed to stimulate the artistic imaginations of young minds, the competition invited pre-school children aged 2-4 to submit paintings or collages on the theme of the popular children’s book The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Generously sponsored by local businesses Ray Chapman Motors, Ralph Yates Ltd, Rodgers of York, Jackson-Stops and Terrington Hall School, the competition was launched in the Gazette & Herald and The Press in February.
In response to the launch, entries flooded in from nurseries stretching from Scarborough, Helmsley, Ampleforth and Malton, through Stockton-the-Forest and Stamford Bridge to Tanghall, Heslington and Wheldrake.
‘It was humbling to have received such an enthusiastic response,’ said Terrington deputy headmaster Stephen Mulryne. ‘When head of pre-prep Veronica Whitfield and I went round the nurseries collecting their entries, many of them had gone out of their way to build Gruffalo lairs and immerse the children in the story and its characters.’
In keeping with the ethos of the event to celebrate young children’s artistic response, every entry was put on display at Saturday’s exhibition, something dear to the heart of competition judge,78-year-old artist, sculptor and art educator Robert Brumby.
‘It really is marvellous to see all these paintings on display,’ he said to the assembled children, families and friends at the prize presentation. ‘Looking around these walls you can see what an impossible task I had to pick out any winners. There’s just so much talent on display here.’
‘Let me explain why I did not sniff at saying yes to judging a competition such as this. It’s important to give encouragement wherever you can. For a child to see their work on display can be the pat on the back that sets them on the path of an artistic career and I’m so grateful to the competition organisers for creating the opportunity to celebrate children’s art. Judging this event has been both a pleasure and a privilege.’
‘You see, a long time ago when I was nine, I too won a school art competition.
‘It was 1944 and held in Salute the Soldier week. Materials were scarce and I remember being stuffed in a corner with a greasy piece of paper and some poster paints that slid all around the paper. I had such a job to control them. Anyway, I won. I couldn’t believe it. It was at that moment that I decided I was going to be an artist. I still have the painting.’
‘So parents, I urge you to encourage your children, and remember that there’s always work an artist can turn his or her hand to. It gives me great pleasure to present the prizes to your children.’
The prize-winning entries of the 2012 York & Area Pre-School Art Competition were:
Overall Winner Eleanor Sage (York Campus Nursery); Best Entry Age 4 Olivia Waite (Wath Court Nursery); Best Entry Age 3 Joseph Brittain (Stockton-on-the-Forest Day Nursery; Best Entry Age 2 Charlie Ambrose (House Martin’s Day Nursery).
Highly Commendeds were awarded to: Amelie Richardson (Straylands Nursery); Harriet White (House Martin’s Day Nursery); Finlay Thompson (Ampleforth Community Nursery); Megan King (St Aelred’s Foundation Unit); Simon Evans (York Campus Nursery); Olivia Monday (Stockton-on-the-Forest Day Nursery); Violet Egerton (House Martin’s Day Nursery); Charlotte Mitchell (Wath Court Nursery); Lenny Fox (Wath Court Nursery); Harry Sewell (Stockton-on-the-Forest Day Nursery).