Last Chance to Paint made a big impact at Wells Cathedral Junior School

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The project has already had a huge influence at Wells – we’re planting hedges where there were once fences, we’ve planted a meadow behind the science room. There’s now an eco-garden outside my classroom, made from eco-bricks and sustainable materials, with bee-friendly areas and hedgehog homes incorporated. In art lessons, pupils have created tribal masks, and now we have this vibrant mural.”

These are the words of Kateley Kinnersley, who teachers year 3 children at Wells Cathedral Junior School in Somerset in the UK. Mrs Kinnersley explained to us how the children connected to the environment and the Amazon rainforest by ‘travelling’ with the Last Chance to Paint team on our ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ chapter and by being in the moment by following the adventures every day online with the videos we posted via satellite and by reading our daily ‘live’ blogs. All of these are easily available to view and read on the chapter page and they make an excellent resource for schools to still run this as a ‘live’ project.

The school used the tes.com teaching resources and lesson plans, designed by the Born Free Foundation. One of the outcomes was a series of stunning tribal masks inspired by the Yawanawá tribe’s body painting and this amazing school display.

I have never had a class of 7 to 8-year-olds so inspired to create original art and so inspired to do something, it might be something small, but something to help to protect our environment because of the videos they saw from the rainforest and from all of the information on the blog and they managed to make the connection then to what we can do here to help and it was just wonderful to see.”

The school invited the Last Chance to Paint team into the school to help the children to create a ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ mural for their outdoor classroom.

From left to right: Artist John Dyer, Musician Martha-Lilly Dyer, Musician Wilamena Dyer, Artist Joanne Short
Some of the ‘shamanic pots’ the children decorated for the project

It was fantastic to see just how much benefit the school has gained from chapter one of Last Chance to Paint – ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’. The children now know about tribes in the Amazon rainforest, their culture and how important the rainforest is to the tribe, the animals and to the planet. We based the mural on the amazing shamanic healing pot story that Nixiwaka Yawanawá introduced us all to and the children loved it. We used printouts of my paintings and Nixiwaká’s to inspire the children. They all painted with us on the mural, showed us their ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ paintings they had already completed and worked on new wax resist paintings and decorated flower pots with shamanic designs and spiritual butterflies.

John Dyer

Martha-Lilly Dyer interviewed some of the children about the project and their work, which you can see in the video at the top of this blog page. The children spoke about tribal culture, the rainforest and the ways they feel they can help with the climate crisis. Parents of the children really connected too and made enthusiastic comments about the experience their children had.

Such a brilliant experience, Amy loved the whole project.

It’s been such a fantastic project, Alice has loved every minute of it!

What an amazing project, definitely one to remember!!

This is awesome!

In the gallery below you can see some examples of the beautiful paintings that the year 3 children have been working on.

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Teacher Kateley Kinnersley explained why art had resonated so well with the school as a way of approaching a subject.

Using art as the centre is a brilliant medium to introduce any topic to any child as they can all access it. We built an entire topic around the project and used the tes.com resources but also went off on a tangent and designed bee friendly gardens and spoke about small changes making a big impact.”

We look forward to Wells Cathedral School and the other 115 schools around the world, that are already signed up and part of Last Chance to Paint, joining us ‘live’ in Borneo for the next chapter, ‘Person of the Forest’, which goes live in September.

If your school has artwork from children ready to send into the WorldGallery.online please do so soon as we can’t wait to share it with the world. The new art from John Dyer and Amazon Indian artist Nixiwaka Yawanawá is now on the gallery to view and your children can exhibit alongside these artists in the same online gallery!