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Ed Sheeran inspires next generation of creative talent

PUBLISHED: 13:43 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:52 24 January 2020

Portrait artist Colin Davidson talking to Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition about his portrait of Ed Sheeran which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery Picture: JADE FROUD

Portrait artist Colin Davidson talking to Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition about his portrait of Ed Sheeran which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery Picture: JADE FROUD

JADE FROUD

The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition has become a source of inspiration for 25 promising young artists at a community workshop led by Ed’s portrait painter Colin Davidson.

Portrait artist Colin Davidson working with Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition inspiring them to be creative  Picture: JADE FROUDPortrait artist Colin Davidson working with Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition inspiring them to be creative Picture: JADE FROUD

The exhibition, curated by Ed's Dad John Sheeran alongside Wolsey Gallery curator Emma Roodhouse, continues to be a massive tourist attraction at Christchurch Mansion.

The portraiture workshop is the first part of an on-going series of education workshops which have been designed in partnership between Ipswich Borough Council, One sixth-form college and the University of Suffolk.

The initial workshop was led by artist Colin Davidson, whose stunning portraits of Ed form the centrepiece of the exhibition. Colin flew in from Belfast to take part, working with 25 students from Benjamin Britten Academy of Music & Mathematics in Lowestoft, One sixth-form college, Claydon High School, Ipswich Academy, Thurston College, Stradbroke High and the Priory school in Bury St Edmunds.

Colin said that the object of the workshops was to inspire creativity, to follow Ed's lead and to follow your dream through a combination of diligence, talent and hard work. The education programme is designed to provide an insight into a number of themes, including singing, song-writing, art, photography and a sense of place.

Portrait artist Colin Davidson working with Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition inspiring them to be creative  Picture: JADE FROUDPortrait artist Colin Davidson working with Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition inspiring them to be creative Picture: JADE FROUD

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Colin said: "I tell the students, I see it all as art. The album covers have to be designed, the lyrics have to be written, promotional photographs have to be taken and it's all creative, it all requires skill and imagination. Also, it's vitally important to bring people of all ages and backgrounds into arts spaces and be inspired by what they see, to feel comfortable in an environment such as this and feel they can just sit and draw - not copying what is up on the walls but produce work of their own, being inspired by what is here."

Working alongside Colin is Emma Connolly, Head of Art Foundation at One, who has designed a virtual learning programme for a variety of different key stages which will allow schools from around the world online access to the exhibition, allowing Ed's inspirational story to help young artists across the globe realise their dreams.

She said: "It has taken months to pull this programme together but John (Sheeran) was really passionate about the fact that there should be an educational project which would run alongside the exhibition and provide an aspirational example, to allow them to believe they can work in the creative industries - creativity and imagination is such a vital part of our economy these days that it is important we do all we can to nurture young talent."

Suffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion seeking inspiration for their own work  Picture: JADE FROUDSuffolk art students visiting the Made in Suffolk exhibition at Christchurch Mansion seeking inspiration for their own work Picture: JADE FROUD

Other workshops coming up are a photography session with Mark Surridge lasting two days arranged by the University of Suffolk. There is also a music workshop at One led by Ian Johnson of Access to Music in Norwich - the man who 'discovered' Ed when he was playing gigs in the city - and two sessions for primary schools under the Kodaly method of music teaching.

Clare Steward, Head of Visual Arts, and Naomi Gamble, attended the session from the Benjamin Britten Academy. Clare said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity for students to work alongside an esteemed portrait artist such as Colin Davidson and to gain valuable insight into his work. I shall be bringing more of our students along to see this amazing exhibition."

All places for the workshops are now booked.

The Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition runs until May 3. Schools are encouraged to bring their students and colleagues to the Wolsey Art Gallery or to download the teachers' resources pack provided by Emma Connolly for use anywhere in the world.


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