The recent opening of our new Locale at Grouville showcased the Co-operative approach to community involvement. I have often heard cynics say that the Percentage for Art (or PfA) scheme was designed to make wealthy art dealers wealthier; bring in soulless lumps of bronze from outside our shores, put it on a pedestal, job done.
That is not our way.
The children learning about the Marsh
Expertly supported by Chris Clifford from Private and Public, we wanted to reinvent what this planning obligation could achieve. So, we took a group of 14 Grouville primary school students to the Grouville Marsh on a sunny day last year. These 8 to 11 year olds learnt all about the unique flora, fauna and species that could be found on the Marsh and drew pictures of what they had seen.
The children helping to open the store
A few of the children’s original sketches
These sketches were faithfully and skilfully converted by local businesses into enormous pieces which were used to provide a striking art installation, wrapping around the façade of our new Locale at Grouville.
Our interpretation of this planning commitment has really captured the public’s imagination and I loved welcoming those children to help us open the store.
“Wow, look at my flower!” I heard one of them whisper to himself, beaming with pride, while wiping his runny nose with the sleeve of his jumper.
The Eco Active Team proudly displaying their enormous artwork
Nightfall flora and fauna
This stunning sculptural statement will adorn the building for many years to come, sensitively acting as a reminder to all of the importance of understanding and caring for our natural environment. We exist to make a real difference to the communities we serve. We have embraced the community with this touching project and have successfully blended education, ecology and the creativity of our children to stunning effect. I am convinced that this approach will be held up as an exemplar case study for the application of PfA commitments. Yes it requires more effort than engaging an expensive art dealer. But it also offers more rewards. Many more.
Through our Eco fund we have also supported the installation of two interpretation boards to inform Islanders of what species may be found on Grouville Marsh, an ecological site of special interest.
Fiona Sangan and I (looking cold!) on the one of the new interpretation panels on the Marsh
Finally, I would like to record my sincere thanks to all of those involved:
• Chris Clifford - Public & Private
• Pam Pitman - Head Teacher at Grouville School
• Aimee Betts & Jane Wilkinson - Eco Active Teachers at Grouville School
• Eco Active Team at Grouville School - Sophie, Emily, Nadine, Chloe, Molly, Eve, Layla, Claudia, Amelia, Annabel, Olivia, Sonny & Eilidh
• Piers Sangan – Sangan Land Management
• Fiona Sangan
• Axis Mason
• Terry Cox and Louise Evans - Bootstrap
• Nick Parlett - Illustrator
• The Chef Tennants
• Mrs Le Maistre
• Mark Woodhall - Department of the Environment