World oceans day 2012
We would like to thank many children (plus a few adults!) that took part in our educational community art event ‘Oceans on Canvas’ on Sunday 10th June in Palmer Park, Reading. The event was planned in association with World Oceans Day, Friday 8th June, and was a celebration of the beauty and magnificence of the world’s oceans and the marine life therein. Children from the community painted their favourite marine life onto two distinct 2 x 2.5-metre ocean-themed murals illustrating aquatic habitats and their inhabitants. We also provided educational information about how species interact with each other and their importance in the wider ecosystem.
Our main objectives for the event were to promote the oceans through art and to bring people together and learn some new skills while having fun. We managed to encourage people of all ages to join in and try something new, but we especially enjoyed engaging with the children, and were really pleased with the finished results. The weather held out and by the end of the event, over 100 children took part in painting some weird and wonderful aquatic animals onto the canvases. Through the fun of painting, we hoped the project would remind the general public how significant healthy oceans and waterways are. In addition, the project equipped children and young people with the opportunity to develop their creativity in a positive and socially-responsible way.
We wanted to design an event specifically to promote the oceans through art and we felt that the East Reading Festival was the perfect opportunity. Being locally-based, we are always thinking about how to engage with as many people as possible in our home town. As with all inland cities, it can be hard for the community in a town like Reading to fully understand the significance of our oceans and the impact they have on our daily lives. So we thought we would see if we could re-establish the connection by bringing the oceans to Reading! Basically, we used ‘Oceans on Canvas’ to communicate an important environmental message whilst at the same time making sure people enjoyed themselves.
Another aim of the event was to use it as a platform to run more events like this and reach an even wider Reading audience, such as working directly with schools and youth groups. The model is based on the inspirational marine life artist in America, Wyland, who has been educating young people through art for two decades. The Oceans on Canvas project was funded by The Earley Charity who are keen to promote all aspects of art, culture and heritage in Reading.
Throughout the event we managed to talk to parents and teachers of a few primary schools who would like us to put on a similar event at their local school and we are now in the process of following up those leads. We also received some really positive feedback during the event, with many parents saying that the interactive element was a great way for kids to learn and take an interest in the environment. This is exactly what we set out to do, so we are thrilled that the event was so well received.