Over the past few months, Dr Rachel Gadsden, a British artist who is exhibited internationally and who works across the mainstream and disability art sectors, has been involved in an Arts Society funded project with the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Special School in Horsham, West Sussex.
Rachel is Patron of the Arts for the school and has worked with them in the past, notably when some of the students’ work was incorporated into a 3-D installation, which featured in the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Brazil in 2016.
This project, funded by the Horsham branch of the Arts Society, with a contribution from the Patricia Fay Fund, involved eight of the school’s Gifted and Talented students, who met Rachel for a day at The Tate Modern. Under her excellent tutelage, they looked at a variety of different pieces, learned about the artists’ techniques and made numerous sketches.
For the following two days back at school, the students worked with Rachel to produce paintings and their own canvases based on their sketches, incorporating self-portraits, and displaying their unique personalities.
The culmination of the project was having their work on display in Horsham’s Capitol Theatre’s gallery for two weeks at the beginning of June.
Rachel returned to Horsham on June 13 and gave a well-received presentation to Arts Society members on her work, and this project. Christine Knight, Young Arts Secretary, said: “The Arts Society Horsham is very proud to have funded this project. Rachel is an extremely talented artist, who, being disabled herself, showed a real affinity with the students. It was a privilege to watch her working with them and then to see their delight when their canvases went on display.”