Talking Art with the Art Forum

Posted by Admin on 16 May 2014, 10:20 a.m.

Last Saturday the curators stepped aside as young people took centre stage to present picture talks to the public.

Over the last couple of months young people who are members of the Watts Academy Art Forum have been working with gallery professionals to research, write and develop their own picture talks.

The Art Forum is a part of the Watts Gallery young people’s programme Watts Academy and is aimed at 14-18 year olds. The group meets twice a month and gives young people the opportunity to get a behind the scenes view of the inner workings of Watts Gallery. The Art Forum meet with professionals to gain insights into gallery and museum careers; they write reviews of Watts Gallery events; and they work on projects. The Art Forum has been running since January 2014 and developing picture talks has been its first gallery project.

During the weeks of preparation the Art Forum members researched their artworks, witnessed picture talks, and spoke to gallery staff to get some advice about talking about art. Amongst these were the Gallery’s Curator Dr Nick Tromans and the Head Tour Guide Jane Turner. The young people then developed their presentation skills by filming themselves speaking and analysing their own performances.

On Saturday two members of the Art Forum presented their hard work to the public. Charlotte chose to talk about Watts’ social realist painting Found Drowned. And Hannah discussed the paintings of Hope and of Clytie. Despite being their first experience of giving picture talks to the public both girls stepped forward with confidence and clarity. As the girls talked a crowd gathered and even applauded at the end.

‘It was such a joy to see young people connecting with the Gallery in such a proactive way. They have worked really hard and it was fantastic to see them so confident.’ Lauren McCombie Smith, Learning Apprentice.

Members of the Art Forum will be Talking Art again on the 13th September as a part of Watts Gallery Heritage Open Days.

The Art Forum meets twice a month on a Tuesday evening 5.30pm-7.00pm. For more information regarding the Art Forum contact Lauren McCombie Smith Learning Apprentice at or 01483 901 808.