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In 2000, Devon County Council agreed to work in partnership with SWAc to produce our first exhibition of children's art work. This exhibition, Me and My World, was held in May 2001 at The Phoenix Gallery, Gandy Street, Exeter, and attracted a wide range of high quality two and three-dimensional work from pupils ages four years and upwards, from primary, secondary and special needs schools in our region.

Six further highly successful exhibitions were to follow in the succeeding years:

2002: A Special Place, Exeter Phoenix
2003: Through My Own Eyes, Exeter Phoenix
2004: Drawing From Experience, Exeter Phoenix
2005: It Appears to Me..., Exeter Phoenix
2006/07: Our Environment, Cube 3 Gallery, Plymouth University
2008: Life's Journeys, Exeter Cathedral

Selected work from some of these exhibitions was also displayed at the following venues: Peace One Day exhibition in the National Gallery in Capetown, South Africa; the touring exhibition from the International Gallery of Children's Art in London to California in America; the National Trust Gallery at Greenway, Devon; Cardew Design Gallery, Bovey Tracey; and the Old Maritime Museum, Exeter Quay (with the help of Mr and Mrs John Hammond).

Preparation for each Schools' Exhibition involved many months of labour-intensive work from a dedicated team of volunteers from inside and outside the Academy. Teachers and schools received early warning of the exhibition's theme. The completed individual and group work was eventually submitted and selected by a panel of Academicians from within the Academy.

All selected 2D work was mounted by volunteers - extremely time consuming but worthwhile - to produce a highly professional display. All pupils received a certificate from the Academy in acknowledgement of their efforts, and for those pupils whose work was selected, the joy of seeing their fully mounted paintings on public display for the first time was inspirational for them, and also a statement of a standard in art that others could both admire and aspire to follow.

Selected work was professionally photographed and a fully illustrated colour catalogue designed ready for printing, along with posters, banners, invitations etc. Generous sponsorship at the time from a number of companies and individuals enabled us to produce these catalogues which later became permanent and valuable records of the events.

Alongside many of the exhibitions, established artists visited some of the schools to conduct workshops. The innumerable tasks taken on by our paid administrators and volunteers completed the Herculean but thoroughly worthwhile task.

Bridget Trethewey was chair for our first Schools'/Young Artists' Exhibition in 2001. Professor Robert Clements OBE (former art advisor for Devon) took the chair for the 2002 and 2003 exhibitions, and Ann Roe Jones SWAc (former head of art and design at Colyton Grammar School) for the remaining exhibitions in 2004, 2005, 2006/07 and for our final exhibition in 2008.

Plans had already been made to continue the exhibition in 2009 but sadly this was not to be. With the mantle of responsibility for this annual event passing to the County in 2009, a gap in our calendar has stood ready for a new initiative in this area. The Trustees have now planned a new open award for 2012 for the most promising young artist in three age groups up to age 20. Winners and runners-up in each category will be the subject of an exhibition in 2012 to showcase their work with all the supporting events associated with our larger shows.

During our first active period to 2009 we have been fortunate to have the support and constant encouragement of our President Emeritus Dr Alan Cotton; the expertise of Devon Schools' art advisors Professor Robert Clement and Phil Creek and his colleague Sadie; and the invaluable help of a dedicated group of School Committee Members and Friends of the Academy who were always prepared to give freely of their own expertise and time.

The ceremonies were always very special events for students and parents alike and none more so than those students from special needs schools. A series of paintings entered in one of our exhibitions, and created by some of these special needs and gifted students whose teachers had imaginatively and courageously taken them all on a trip to Venice, will long live in the memories of all who saw them.

Phil Creek, Devon Adviser for Art and Design, wrote in the Introduction to our first catalogue, Me and My World:

Art and design are both a significant and vital means of developing cultural understanding and creativity in young people. It is through the skills, understanding, knowledge and sensitivities developed in the making of art that the pupils in our schools foster an appreciation of their world and their own potential to contribute to our diverse and dynamic culture.

Children are already the inheritors of a rich cultural heritage, built 'on the shoulders of giants', but it is today's children who will, through the development of their own creativity and originality, form the future for us all.

Schools, dedicated teachers, supportive parents and institutions such as our very own Academy all have their part to play.

Ann Jones (Ann L Roe) SWAc, July 2011

A sincere vote of thanks is due to the following individuals, without whose help, expertise and tireless support, the Schools' and Young Artists' Exhibitions would never have become a reality. We look forward to continuing our work with many of those listed below in the creation of the new Young Artists' Award in 2012:

Chairs: Bridget Trethewey, Professor Robert Clement OBE and Ann Jones (Ann L Roe).

Committee Members: Jess Brookes, Philip Creek, Tony Doherty, Yvonne Higgins, Edwina Jaques, Alan Jones, Charles Lawson, Mary Lou Matson, Gay Smith, Rob Wynne, David Pugh, Gentian Sims, Sasha Debrota, Kerstin Neason, Jilly Phillips, Rory Cunningham, Alice Garrood, Jennifer Rewcastle, Jed Falby, Mary Falby, James Lester, Alison Sumner, Sonia Fynn, Alan Fynn, John Pegg.

Friends: John Pegg (Chair), Gill Burbidge, James Lester, Christine Pratt, Rowan Russell, Ken Simmons, Jane Overthrow, Jennifer Rewcastle, Jed Falby, Jane Clement, Annie Ovenden and team at Upton Cross.

Administrators: Jane McArthur, Fiona Baxter, Rebecca Cunningham and Kate King.

Photographers: David Maxwell, Alan Jones and John Melville.

Catalogue/ Design: Gentian Sims, Ann Jones, Alan Jones, James Lester, Lola Jones, Kris Board at Exe Print, Acanthus Press.

Marketing & Sponsorship: Alison Sumner and Juliet Collier.

Workshops: Edwina Jaques, Tonny Minnion, Chloe Bardolf-Smith, Rory Cunningham, Marguerite Cunningham, Sasha Debrota, Kerstin Neason, Yuli Somme, Ali Hurst.

Many other groups and individuals also had their part to play: John Pegg and his team of 'friends'; those who conducted workshops in the schools; the administrative staff; photographers, printers and guests such as radio presenter Judi Spiers, actress and children's author Nanette Newman; the director of the Falmouth Art Gallery Brian Stewart; and Councillor Hazel Slack (former Lord Mayor of Exeter) who kindly agreed to open some of our Exhibitions and distribute the prizes.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to our numerous and generous company and individual sponsors who helped us in so many ways over the years with their sponsorship of the catalogues, prizes, venues etc. The following list relates to the sponsors of the Schools' Exhibitions only and not to the Open or Academicians' Exhibitions. In alphabetical order:

Artframe Galleries; Aon Limited; Art Societies (Budleigh Salterton, Honiton, Otter Vale, Seaton); Atkins Law Solicitors; Avilton foods; Awards for All; Aztec Consulting; Bakers Property Services Ltd; Bearnes Auctioneers; Berol; Bicton College; Binney & Smith; Bishop Fleming; Boyce Hatton Solicitors; Brufords; Calder Colours; Candy Tile Company; Cardew Designs (Paul Cardew & Sharon); Carlton Broadcasting; Claude and Margaret Pike Charity; Ernest Cook Charitable Trust; Crealy Adventure Park; C & M Accountants; Brian Clegg; Cube 3 Gallery - University of Plymouth; Daisi; Daler Rowney; The Dartmoor Trust; Design Group Honiton; Devon County Council; Devon Curriculum Services; De Paul Studio Newton Abbot; Devon Today; Mr & Mrs Drecki Bequest; Early Learning Centre, Exeter; EDAV prize (East Devon Council of Visual Education); Edding; ELC; Eliot Siegel Portraits; Ernest Cook Charitable Trust; Exeter Arts Council; Exeter Cathedral (Ann Barwood and Cathedral Team); Exeter Phoenix (John Gregory, Ed Probert, Chris Whiteman); Exmouth Gallery; Foot Anstey Solicitors (Sarah Cowl); The Golden Bottle Charitable Trust; Golsoncott Foundation; Gregory Distributors (John Gregory); Hertz International; The Rosalind Hicks Charitable Trust; House of Marbles & Teign Valley Glass; J.G.Hogg Charitable Trust; Hooper & Wollen; HSBC Bank; Jackson-Stopps & Staff; Kensington Taylor; Lazer Summer Camp; Lets Go Travel; Living Coasts; MacDonalds; Mail Boxes; Mail Service Point; Marine House & Martin Ward; Messums; MFI; MLA; Michael Spiers; Michael Martin Charitable Trust; Museums, Libraries and Arts councils; John Nike Leisure; Paignton Zoo; Paper People; Pedigree Group; Peninsula Arts (Mike Hope and team); Pennon Group; Pentel (David Ryder); City of Plymouth; Polka Gallery; Powderham Castle; Primary Times (Ceri Lee); Redferns; Renaissance South West; Royal Albert Memorial Museum; River Dart Country Park; Sandford UK; Scola; Seawhite of Brighton; Service Point Exeter; Sindy (Jerry Reynolds); St Cuthberts Mill; Specsavers (public prize); Steam Galleries (Mr & Mrs Lambert); Strutt & Parker; South West Arts; South West Water; Symes Robinson & Lee; Sherriffs; Teign Valley Brush Company; Torbay Council; Triton Galleries; Unichem; Martin Ward of Sanford; Westward Paper Sales; Whitton & Laing; Irma Wilkinson Prize (sponsored by Diana Wilkinson); Woolworth PLC; Charles Wray Devon Purchasing; Zebra.
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