The Art Department often plays a key role in Portsmouth Festivities. This year, they were able to present two featured exhibitions as part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations as well as four other events that brought the pupils’ creativity to wider view.

The Aspex Gallery at Gunwharf Quays (pictured) invited a group of Year 11 and Year 12 pupils to create outcomes in response to images and events that were held over the last 20 years of Portsmouth Festivities.

Two outcomes were anticipated from each pupil and the range of work featured film pieces, photography, print, painting and sculpture. Visitors to the show were astounded to find that the pupils who presented work were aged between 16 and 17 years old.

These pupils certainly have a future in their field of Art if popular critique can be used to discuss their work.

At the Jack House Gallery across the road from the school on the High Street, pupils and staff have held three separate shows.

In mid-June, the Art Department teachers and technicians held a group show of their work using print, paint, sculpture and clay as their chosen mediums. The Year 13 Show was held quickly afterwards with selected work as a culmination of their studies from their two-year A level Art course. This was the first opportunity for these pupils to present their work as young artists in their own right, in a professional gallery setting. The work was highly rated and received well by all the visitors to the show.

In the final week of June, the Art Department presented work from GCSE pupils. This work has raised the bar somewhat and may challenge pupils in upcoming years! Visitors to the show had a common comment, that this work appeared to be already at A Level standard, and even beyond. Ceramics, paintings and prints all vied for attention with each other to create a stunning display of work. The pupils should be very proud of their achievements and we know many of them will carry on with their Art studies as they go onto post-16 education.

Annual summer shows are a well-established tradition and are held regularly at PGS. They allow our Art Department to showcase the work produced by pupils from years Years 7 – 13.

Where recent exhibitions have focused upon individual year groups, in his final farewell to PGS after over 30 years of teaching, Simon Willcocks mounted a show of picture postcards created by over 600 pupils across all year groups, with staff and parents’ work featuring too.

This event closed a three-week long residency at Jack House and was set up to raise funds for pupils at Kikaaya College School in Uganda. A small selection of postcards that were sent from our Ugandan partner artists helped celebrate the diversity and creativity of all our partners in learning. To date almost £300 has been raised. The Art department choice, ‘Best in Show’ went to an acrylic landscape by Gracie Gregory (Year 10), which balanced spontaneity and freshness with a sophistication of means, making it particularly appealing.

Mr Willcocks should be proud, not only of establishing this show of work to raise funds for our fellow school, but also of his successes in teaching Art at PGS over his long and successful career. He will be missed.