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Inspiring young artists as unique maritime sculpture visits



3rd June 2019

Pupils at Irvine Royal Academy experienced world-class art in their classroom as part of the largest ever sculpture project undertaken in the UK.

A cement fondue sculpture, ‘Figure of a Shipbuilder’, created around 1949 by one of Scotland’s most renowned 20th-century sculptors Benno Schotz was loaned from the Scottish Maritime Museum to the school to inspire learning. The sculpture is thought to be inspired by Schotz’s time working as a draughtsman for John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank.

Award-winning sculptor Shona Kinloch led bespoke workshops on Thursday 30th May at Irvine Royal Academy, aiming to capture the imagination of S3 students and inspire a lifelong passion for art. Each pupil created their own figure from clay inspired by the Benno Schotz sculpture and Kinloch’s own well-loved sculptures found across Scotland including ‘Sea Dogs, See Gull’ on Irvine harbourside.

The Masterpieces in Schools event, organised by Art UK is part of a national learning and engagement programme which launched in 2018 – part of Art UK’s ongoing sculpture project. The unique initiative takes sculpture out of the museum and into classrooms, to bring children and young people into direct contact with practising artists who showcase their sculptures on site and deliver a sculpture tutorial.

A key aim of the initiative is to engage more children with art – 125 schools and 125 collections across the UK will take part in Masterpieces in Schools by May 2020. Teachers are encouraged to use sculpture to illustrate, enliven and inspire their teaching around art and design and other subjects across the curriculum.

With many schools across the UK facing challenges in delivering activities on this scale due to lack of resources or budget constraints, the initiative is an invaluable opportunity to bring children into close contact with high-profile artworks.

Shona Kinloch, sculptor, said ‘It’s been lovely to visit Irvine Royal Academy to work with the pupils and share my love of sculpture. It was also great to hear that the pupils were aware of the public sculptures I have on the harbourside in Irivine.’

Kendra Reid, Acting PT Art and Design, said ‘This has been a valuable experience for pupils. It’s wonderful to get a real practicing artist in school who can inspire the next generation of artists.’

Jamie Menzies, Learning and Access Officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said “Masterpieces in Schools provides an excellent opportunity for us to share our new national art collection with young people outside of the typical museum setting. It was really inspiring to see pupils creating their own works inspired by our ‘shipbuilder’. We hope, in turn, the initiative will encourage more young people to visit the Museum to continue their creative journey amongst all the wonderful sculptures, paintings, watercolours, photography and mixed media in our exciting new art collection.”

Andrew Ellis, Art UK Director, said, ‘Masterpieces in Schools was such a huge success back in 2013 and the sculpture initiative is a much larger programme and even more rewarding. With school visits to museums on the decline, taking art into schools is all the more vital.’

The Masterpieces in Schools programme is being made possible thanks to generous grants from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. For more information about the Sculpture Project funders visit the Art UK website.

Notes to Editors


About Figure of a Shipbuilder by Benno Schotz

Estonian-born sculptor Benno Schotz (1891-1984) attended evening classes at Glasgow School of Art while working as a draughtsman at John Brown’s shipyard, Clydebank. He went on to be Head of Ceramics at GSA and became President of the Society of Sculptors and Painters, Glasgow in 1920. Made of cement fondue and a wooden plinth, ‘Figure of a Shipbuilder’ is thought to have been made in, or just before, 1949.


About The Scottish Maritime Museum

Based in the West of Scotland, with sites in Irvine and Dumbarton, the Scottish Maritime Museum holds an important nationally recognised collection, encompassing a variety of historic vessels, artefacts, fascinating personal items and the largest collection of shipbuilding tools and machinery in the country. The museum in Irvine, where ‘Figure of a Shipbuilder’ is displayed, is housed within the vast, glass-roofed Victorian Linthouse, the former Engine Shop of Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyard in Govan before being salvaged and relocated to Irvine in 1991.


About Shona Kinloch

Based in East Kilbride, Shona Kinloch is an award-winning Royal Society sculptor. After studying sculpture at the Glasgow School of Art, she has gone on to specialise in animal and human sculptures primarily in bronze. She has many public sculptures across Scotland and the UK, as well as on five Royal Caribbean cruise liners.


About Masterpieces in Schools

In 2013 Art UK launched Masterpieces in Schools with the aim of bringing children face-to-face with great works of art inside their classroom, breaking down traditional barriers to art. A range of masterpieces were loaned to schools by renowned artists including L. S. Lowry, Monet and Turner.

Following its success, Art UK announced the return of Masterpieces in Schools in 2018, as part of the sculpture project – the largest ever sculpture documentation project undertaken in the UK to date. Once again, artworks will come out of artist studios and the nation’s museums and galleries, and into schools, as sculptures are loaned for the day. The initiative also facilitates relationships between schools and collections in the area.

By the end of 2020, Art UK is digitising around 150,000 public sculptures located inside galleries, museums and public buildings and outdoors in parks, streets and squares, across the length and breadth of the UK. Many are now available online, free of charge, to people in the UK and all over the globe via www.artuk.org. By the project’s conclusion, the UK will become the first country in the world to create a free-to-access online photographic showcase of its publicly owned sculpture, for everyone’s enjoyment, learning and research.


About Art UK

Art UK is a cultural education charity on a mission to make the art in UK public collections accessible to everyone, for enjoyment, learning and research.

We enable global audiences to learn about the UK’s public art collection. We digitise artworks, tell the stories behind the art and create exciting opportunities for public interaction with art, both online and offline. We play a major role in supporting public art collections, by improving their accessibility and sustainability. Although we are a relatively small charity

Between 2003 and 2012 Art UK digitised over 200,000 oil paintings from locations across the UK – a unique national achievement. Since September 2016, works on paper – watercolours, prints and drawings – have been progressively added to the website. The award-winning Masterpieces in Schools and Art Detective initiatives provide online and offline opportunities for learning and participation and contribute to collection knowledge.

Art UK is the operating name of the Public Catalogue Foundation, a charity registered in England and Wales (109685) and Scotland (SC048601).

To find out more, visit www.artuk.org

@artukdotorg #ArtUKSculptureProject #MasterpiecesInSchools




About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk

About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organisations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. Since 1996 the Foundation has committed more than $2.5 billion, through more than 4,000 grants to non-profit organisations in 124 nations around the world. www.snf.org

About R K Harrison

R K Harrison designs insurance solutions for private collectors, museums, gallery owners and art dealers. We are proud to provide insurance cover for the sculpture project, in particular the Masterpieces in Schools initiative. www.rkharrison.com

 About Hiscox

Hiscox is a global specialist insurer, headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). We are proud to provide insurance cover for the sculpture project, in particular the Masterpieces in Schools initiative. www.hiscoxgroup.com

 For more information please contact:

Shane Strachan – Learning & Engagement Officer, Art UK

07934 084527    shane.strachan@artuk.org

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