Heatherleys was founded as an independent school for artists in 1845. In 1974 we were established as a charity, the Thomas Heatherley Educational Trust, in order to provide a benefit to the public by advancing education in the Fine Arts. Over 40 years later we continue to offer our professional skills and special facilities as a cultural resource for the wider community alongside our academic programme.
With the guidance of Outreach Coordinator Diana Horton, we actively seek new opportunities to extend our links with local communities and organisations. We have developed a series of rewarding partnerships with nearby schools and hospitals with whom visiting Heatherleys tutors have organised workshop classes. Local school students are also invited to explore printmaking techniques or to make sculpture in our specialised studios.
Working with a wide range of groups of people of all ages and backgrounds, we see how important art can be not only as a vehicle for individual self-expression, creativity and mental wellbeing but also as a powerful means to promote community spirit and social cohesiveness. We aim to open the world of the visual arts to all those who may previously have felt that art was something very distant from their lives.
Outreach projects have included:
- Collaboration with Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea and Sutton: experimental drawing and observation workshops where medical and administrative staff worked together
- Partnerships with local schools, sharing our skills and enthusiasm with young people;
- Globe Ark Academy, Elephant and Castle, inspiring their love of drawing
- Chelsea Academy school; pupils regularly attend sculpture and printmaking sessions in our specialist studios which has contributed to their portfolios for arts university places
- Chelsea Academy and St Marylebone Church of England School: sixth formers were invited to attend our Open Studio life drawing sessions in preparation for further art education.
- Hallfield Primary school; new initiative helping inner city children to think imaginatively as they discovered the fascinating world of nature through drawing
- St Marylebone Church of England School in Bayswater: Heatherleys tutors and students collaborated with GCSE Art pupils. They were shown how to engrave etchings in our printmaking studio, making images in celebration of the lives and work of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and scientist Jane Wardle, commemorating the centenary of women obtaining the vote in 1918; their prints were displayed to the public at the Royal Brompton Visitors centre, and in Heatherleys own Conservatory Gallery and then at University College London. The prints were later also published in book form.
- New links built with our local community:
- Heatherleys tutors led drawing sessions at the newly opened visitors centre at the Brompton Cemetery in partnership with SMART, a therapeutic group sponsoring rehabilitation and training through the arts.
- Practical support to national and local charitable arts societies who share our aims.
- Prizes offered to acknowledge achievement and encourage aspiring and emerging artists attempting to develop a career in the Fine Arts.
Please email Diana Horton if you would like to hear more about how we could work with your group or organisation.