Magical collection box unveiled as part of circus-themed exhibition

Published 28th September 2018

Invited guests attended a special preview event today to watch the unveiling of the magical mechanical collection box designed and created by acclaimed automata artist, Keith Newstead, at Mansfield Central Library.

Keith, whose work has featured in numerous exhibitions, on film and at the Chelsea Flower Show, was inspired by work created by pupils from 12 Nottinghamshire Primary Schools and the fantastic professional artist Emma Reynard, as they explored the idea of what would happen if the circus visited the library!

Keith’s automata work and the artwork created by the school children will form the exhibition – part of the countrywide Big Draw 2018: Play! programme -  which will be open to the public this Saturday and be on display at Mansfield Central Library Gallery until 20 December, before touring to Beeston, West Bridgford and Worksop libraries from January to June 2019.

Our invited guests included Sue Williamson, Director of Libraries from Arts Council England, and pupils from Asquith Primary School who took part in the school workshops. Sue Williamson said, “It’s absolutely brilliant to see the results of our NPO funding so well realised by all these children creating this brilliant art. They’ve really understood and thought about what a librarian does and how circus animals might eat them! To see this automata in the library by a world class artist is absolutely fabulous.”

Automata artist, Keith said “I’m really impressed with the quality of the work on display from the children that took part in the workshops with Emma. There was one drawing in particular that I really liked which I’ve used in the final automata’s hiding somewhere for you to find! It’s always so nice to be able to work on a project such as this and I’m glad more people will have the chance to see the exhibition both here in Mansfield and as it tours the other libraries next year.”

The project was funded as part of our Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status, and the country wide Big Draw programme, Keith Newstead was commissioned to create the original work for the exhibition, whilst local artist Emma Reynard ran the school’s workshops. Emma will also be offering FREE family workshops throughout October and November at 12 of our Inspire libraries across the county.

Helen Ackroyd, Principal Arts Officer for Inspire said “We are very excited to be working with Keith Newstead and know that the young people who have influenced the commission, and will be celebrated in the exhibitions, will be proud of the legacy they leave as young artists.”

The international Big Draw Festival runs from 1 October until 4 November. Emma commented, 'I am really excited to be working on The Big Draw 2018 project for Inspire. It was amazing to work with the schools to come up with ideas and designs to inspire Keith's automata. We looked at old-style circus acts and the artist Alexander Calder's wire circus as inspiration; creating fabulous drawings, collages, projections and shadows. The family workshops will be fun and playful and a great way for families to get involved in this year’s Big Draw festival.

Full details of the free workshops and the exhibition can be found at here.

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