Find out more about a local art gallery exhibition for our ponies!
While Hospice in the Weald’s now famous herd of sculptured horses has been putting on an eye-catching show across the region this summer, a second group of equine stars has been waiting for its chance to shine – 29 smaller ponies designed and decorated by pupils and teachers in local schools.
A selection of the ponies will emerge from the classrooms to go on show together at the Kaleidoscope Gallery in Sevenoaks from September 19-30. Then the ponies will join up with the 24 herd horses for a spectacular mass exhibition at Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells from October 3-13.
Each of the schools across West Kent and East Sussex received a blank model pony, standing about 90cm high, and a resource pack from the hospice. Pupils were then encouraged to use their creative and artistic talents to paint the horses in a unique series of striking and individual designs.
“The results have been stunning, beyond anything we could have expected,” said Emma Whittington, Hospice in the Weald campaign project manager. “Hundreds of children joined in. They and their teachers were inspired and really got caught up in the spirit of the Herd of the Hospice? art scheme.”
At Sutton Valence Prep School, the pony was covered in painted hands and named Handsome. The project then inspired a whole equine week at the school, including visits to a farrier and the Stevenson rocking horse workshop. Andrea Savage, head of art at the school, said: “It was a busy few days which culminated in an Ascot day – children dressed up with hats and smart clothes - and a country fair where children sold things they had made and there were loads of horsey games to play and food to buy. It was brilliant and all the proceeds are going to the hospice and our local church. The children were really inspired by the Herd of the Hospice idea.”
Pupils and staff at Riverhead Infants School, Sevenoaks, named their pony Friendship in tribute to a former colleague Sarah Reeves, a teaching assistant at the school for 12 years. Deputy head Helene Bligh said: “Our design is something that everyone was able to contribute to equally, whatever their age or ability. It incorporates Sarah’s favourite colours and her sparkle, and reflects her zest for life and her sense of fun, and conveys our gratitude for the care that Sarah received from the Hospice in the Weald.”
Schools taking part were: The Mead School; Dulwich Prep; St Marks C.E. Primary School; Sutton Valence Primary School; Sutton Valence Prep School; Churchill C.E. Primary School; Tunbridge Wells Grammar School For Boys; Hilden Grange; Amherst; Hayesbrook; Kingswood Primary School; Groombridge Pre-School; Rose Hill School; St Ronan’s; Skippers Hill Manor Prep School; Riverhead Infants School; Otford Primary; Priory, Ticehurst House, child unit (three ponies); Riverside school; Discovery School; St Margaret Clitherow Primary School; Bricklehurst Manor; Walthamstow Hall Junior School; Woodland Primary; Pembury school; St James After-School Club; The Judd School. In addition, one pony was designed by patients in the Hospice Day Service.
Emma Whittington said: “It will be exciting for the children to see their work side by side with the ponies from other schools and compare the different ideas everyone has had. We are very grateful to the Kaleidoscope Gallery for allowing some of the ponies to come together for the first time. We encourage those in the community we serve to pop down to Sevenoaks and see some of the amazing ponies the schools have created for themselves”
Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum (SVAF) runs the K.C.C Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery, as an artist led space. A contemporary Exhibition Space showcasing new and experimental works from established and emerging Kent artists plus school and community projects. Opening hours and location www.svaf.co.uk
While the ponies are on show, the hospice team will be busy rounding up the main herd from the open-air sites across Kent and Sussex where the art installation has been in place, ready for the October exhibition.
Herd of the Hospice? is one of the biggest fundraising drives ever run by Hospice in the Weald which needs £7million a year to maintain its vital work in the community. Donations of £3 can be made by texting HERD to 70660, and all the horses will be available to buy at a public auction at Royal Victoria Place on October 11.