Saturday Club teenagers showcase their artwork

Ruth Peterson | August 6, 2020

Teenagers who explored climate change, identity and storytelling through a Saturday art club have had their work showcased in a national celebration of talent.

The seven youngsters have sketched, painted and made clay models among other activities while taking part in Bradford College’s Art and Design Saturday Club.

Summer Show 2020

You can now see their work on the National Saturday Club’s Summer Show 2020, alongside creations from other Saturday Clubs across the country.

Clay models of heads created by Saturday Club students

Tutor Nicola Turner, who led the club, said: “My group has been a pleasure to work with. It has been great to watch their confidence develop as well as witness growing smiles as the weeks have passed.”

The online gallery of their work showcases three different projects, Global Warming, Self-Portraiture and ‘The Small Mouse’. Global Warming posters portray members’ concerns about environmental issues. The portraits showcase one club member’s first-time experimentation with oil paints. Meanwhile, ‘The Small Mouse’ is another member’s illustrated children’s story with a message to not worry about differences.

Face mask in progress

Magnificent seven bloom

Having begun the club with one 13-year-old in May 2019, the group grew to seven people from diverse backgrounds. It includes one who travelled from Harrogate every week to attend the club.

Nicola said: “The aim of the club was to provide a free arts club for those who may not have the opportunity to attend such a club or activities, as well as experience the arts in an informal way.”

If we don't make a change poster

The teenagers developed their artistic skills together through hours spent drawing, printmaking, lino printing, collage, storyboarding, sketching and painting.

Art with a powerful message

With a climate change theme, the group explored poster design. they also considered elements such as the power of a message, font selection and layout.

Members even worked in pairs for a Modroc mask-making workshop. Sculptor and Bradford School of Art lecturer Carole Griffiths gave a lesson in clay sculpture. She showed the group how to create a small head out of clay, based upon the drawings they had made of themselves.

A place to develop self confidence

All this created a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere in which the teenagers could flourish. Nicola added: “My students were mostly very shy and uncommunicative to start with, so for me it was about building their confidence and allowing them to focus on their own interests as well as introducing them to different experiences within the arts.

“It was also important for me to introduce things they could continue to do at home independently, without expensive or fancy equipment, as I was mindful that some came from financially restricted backgrounds.

“As we approached lockdown, I would say the group started to open up more, be more confident and less socially awkward.”

Unique and individual works

The group continued their work at home during the final term, sending in images of their completed end of year creations.

Nicola said: “They had also produced some wonderful art works unique to their individuality and I hope will continue in their own way. I have a feeling that at least three of them will consider going into the arts and we hope they will attend Bradford College later on.”

Parent: “Thank you for all you have done”

The teenagers’ parents were full of praise for the impact the club had on their children. One parent told Nicola: “My daughter is having a wonderful time on the Saturday Club and I personally want to thank you for all you have done with her.”

About the Saturday Club

The Saturday Club is an independent charity set up to give 13-16 year olds the unique opportunity to study subjects they love at a local college, university museum or other organisation. With more than 9,500 members, the classes are free of charge and are delivered by tutors supported by student assistants.

The aim is to nurture young people’s talent, build their confidence, skills and self esteem. It shows them pathways into further and higher education and careers they will find rewarding.

You can find out more about the club on the Saturday Club website.

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