John Hutton MP and Minister of State for Health will join Councillor Joe Nicholson, newly elected Chairman of Cumbria County Council, on Friday 6th June at 2pm in the Art Gene Gallery, the Nan Tait Centre, Barrow to jointly applaud the success of HUGE ART, a ground breaking arts in education initiative from Dalton in Furness.
As part of Cumbria County Council's Better Ways to School Initiative, 'HUGE ART' raises awareness about road safety and sustainable transport. This unique project has been so successful, that it is now planned to extend it through schools in the North and West of Cumbria, starting in the Autumn.
HUGE ART, a unique partnership between Cumbria County Council, Capita and Art Gene, involved over 600 children working together with nationally renowned artist Maddi Nicholson to design and create seven HUGE and COLOURFUL banners (the largest measuring 8 meters by 4 meters).
The banners, together with art workshops run by Maddi Nicholson, will tour schools involved in Cumbria's Better Ways to School Initiative in the North and West of Cumbria, showing what can be achieved by using art as a medium to convey the Better Ways to School message; that by simply walking or cycling to school, car sharing or getting the bus, congestion and potential danger outside the school gates and on the route to school can be eased, as well as improving fitness and health.
To mark the success of this project each school, Chapel Street Infants School, George Romney Junior School, Dalton St Mary's CE Primary School and Dowdales School, will receive a special achievement award. As well as presenting the awards John Hutton, Health Minister, will also deliver a keynote speech on health and education issues.
Councillor Alan Nicholson, Chairman of Barrow Local Committee, which decides where the Better Ways to School funding is spent locally, said:
"The Better Ways to School initiative is aimed at encouraging better use of more sustainable forms of transport and improving safety on the school journey. It is about improving the safety of our children and the quality of people's lives through reducing congestion near schools, which in turn provides cleaner air and safer and more attractive streets. We hope that through the County Council's Better Ways to School initiative, people will change their thinking and behaviour in relation to how they make their school journey.
The Dalton arts initiative has proved to be an effective way of getting this message across in a unique way which has really caught the children's imagination. I am pleased pupils all over Cumbria will be able to see what has been done in Dalton and hope that it will encourage more children and their parents to think about how they get to school."
Maddi Nicholson and over 80 of the schoolchildren involved in the project will be available at the event to talk about their artwork and about the best ways of getting to school.