It is the last day of term at Abbeyhill Primary School before the Christmas holidays! What better way to say farewell to an extraordinary 2020 by unvealing our plans for a new school-wide project to start in the New Year led by our new artist-in-residence Dave Pratt supported by a 10 Villages Community Grant.
Titled Up Up and Away, this project will see all classes – from Nursery to Primary 7 – taking up to the skies to pay tribute to James Tytler (1745-1804) – the first person in Britain to fly by ascending in a hot air balloon in 1784 from nowhere else but our own Abbeyhill!
It was just a month ago when we introduced you to Dave Pratt as the cover artist of our now sold-out 2021 Abbeyhill Primary School Calendar, alongide the late legend Aileen Paterson and Alice Myers – just two of our other 50 artists-in-residence so far – featured on the pages of the calendar.
We also wondered whether the humble calendar could be our new exhibition platform in times of COVID-19 restrictions for our artists-in-residence to exhibit and perform in the school building in person. The answer is yes, and today, we are very pleased to say huge THANK YOU to all of you who supported our annual calendar appeal by helping us fundraise £1,000 for the activities, events and equiptment for our school – including new artists-in-residence.
But let’s rewind to the annual calendar 2019 (as pictured above) in anticipation of this humble medium becoming one of our regular exhibition platforms. We may not be surprised to meet Dave Pratt as the cover artist for the first time, but also Mr James Tytler, himself – taking off from Abbeyhill in Britain’s first hot air balloon on 25 August 1874 and landing about half a mile away in Restalrig.
In 2021, nearly 150 years later, over 150 young people, aged 3 to 12 will join Dave Pratt and Mr James Tytler to create paper mache hot air balloons, book covers, newspaper front pages as new displays for our school windows and the screens at your fingertips – our two favourite exhibition platforms born in the wake of the first lockdown. Stay tuned as we will keep you posted about their attempt to transform the school, the school windows and the screens at your fingertips in time for our new Colony of Artists celebration in September 2021.
Now that we have mentioned the Colony of Artists festival, we are pleased to reveal that our new resident artist Dave Pratt may be joining his efforts to raise the hot air balloon profile of our area with the Murally People of Abbeyhill. They are planning to co-create one of the new murals in the Abbeyhill area as part of the evolving street art trail which already has six sites featuring some of the other residents at our school, including the festival founding artists Wiliam Mazur and Gill Smith.