Working in partnership with Honiton Primary School and Allhallows Museum, THG's ambitious project for the national Wild Escape Campaign will help young children explore local landscapes in the Blackdown Hills through the collections of the gallery and Allhallows Museum.

The project has secured funding from South West Museum Development on behalf of Museum Development England in partnership with Art Fund and Arts Council England. Taking place next summer, the Wild Escape invites primary school children (ages 7-11) across the UK to explore changes in the natural landscapes through their local museum, revealing stories and connections through time. 

The artworks and stories children create will be brought together in a collective work of art that imagines a better future for the wildlife on our doorstep, launched online and in museums on Earth Day 2023. The Wild Escape is inspired by Wild Isles, a landmark BBC natural history series presented by Sir David Attenborough. The Wild Escape invites primary school children to creatively respond to art and nature through content shared on BBC Bitesize and other BBC programmes. 

THG is bringing this exciting initiative to East Devon. Pupils aged 7-11 from Honiton Primary will take part in a series of workshops led by sculptor Alistair Lambert at THG, Allhallows Museum and in the countryside of the Blackdown Hills AONB. The workshop will take inspiration from THG's exhibitions, Allhallows Museum's collections and the natural landscape. 

The young people and the wider school community will devise and create collages and mini sculptures using natural and reclaimed materials exploring our relationship to the natural world. The collective artwork will process through Honiton, past Allhallows, arriving at THG's pocket park for Earth Day celebrations on 22nd April 2023. 

This project accompanies THG's flagship 2023 exhibition, Paradise Found: New Visions of the Blackdown Hills'. The young people will explore the work of 34 contemporary artists who have made new work in response to the Blackdown Hills, retracing the footsteps of the Camden Town Group. The exhibition explores how the landscape has changed over the last 100 years, giving insight into the ecological, social, industrial and historic issues particular to the Blackdown Hills. 

This unique landscape is connected to the Allhallows Museum collections where the social history of Honiton is captured through the ages. Fossils on display show that about 140,000 years ago, Honiton was the home of deer, oxen, elephant and hippopotami, existing in the same climate as in Africa today. The project will also engage with the wider community supporting those from rurally disadvantaged, socio-economic backgrounds in East Devon working with community partners: East Devon District Council, Headlight and Devon Recovery Learning Community. 

Margaret Lewis, curator of Allhallows Museum, said: "Allhallows Museum is delighted to be part of the Wild Escape project and is looking forward to this opportunity to engage with local schools and the Blackdown Hills AONB culminating in the procession of the finished artwork on Earth Day next April."

Christopher Tribble, headteacher of Honiton Primary School, said: "The Wild Escape project will see the continuation of our much-valued partnership with Thelma Hulbert Gallery. The pupils of Honiton Primary School enjoy the quality of the creative activities which the gallery delivers and we look forward to continuing this positive relationship."

Councillor Nick Hookway, East Devon District Council Portfolio Holder Tourism, Leisure, Sport and Culture, commented: "Congratulations to THG for securing funds to bring this national art initiative to East Devon. The Wild Escape is a fantastic opportunity for local communities and schoolchildren to explore biodiversity and the environment, through the power of art."

The Wild Escape is made possible by lead support from Arts Council England's National Lottery Project Grants, with additional support from Art Fund. Paradise Found: New Visions of the Blackdown Hills (18 March - 3 June) Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Dowell St, Honiton EX14 1LX (Tuesday - Saturday, 10 -5).

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THG is an acclaimed public art gallery featuring an inspiring programme of contemporary art & craft exhibitions of local, national and regional significance. The gallery operates as a ‘cultural hub’ through an annually changing programme of exhibitions, events and workshops, which…