Art galore on the last night of ‘Art Month’ at Powderham Castle

Last Friday I opened the Offices of Respondsability for Children at the concluding exhibition of works carried out during the ‘Art Month’ held at Powderham Castle. During the month of June, many artists were invited to produce works inspired by their visit(s) to the Powderham Castle estate.

The pop-up OORFC, of course, involved talking to the visitors of Powderham Castle that month, and getting their responses to the question “What are we doing to our children”. Whereas on previous visits the ‘Office’ was set up in the courtyard, on Friday night everything was situated inside the castle.

Anna FitzGerald, the organiser of the event, had clearly worked hard to make the whole month-long event a great success. And Friday night was no exception. Two large rooms were filled with artworks and since OORFC needed quite a lot of space for visitors to gather, hear my story, and fill in response forms, I was fortunate to be allowed to set up in a room (the library, I guess) situated between the two main exhibition spaces.

One lovely incident reminded me very much of the supposed dying words of Goethe - ‘mehr Licht’ (‘more light’).

Charles, the Earl of Devon, and owner of Powderham Castle, concerned that the light in the room might not be all that it should be, offered a solution – he turned a handle that magically moved the mirror above the fireplace to reveal an open window, thus allowing the daylight to steam in!

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Magically the mirror disappears and daylight streams in! (OORFC before the night begins).

I am happy to say that, with perhaps the exception of one couple, OORFC was received really well. Several visitors filled in their responses there and then and several people took away the info and suggested they would respond after giving the question further thought. Fair enough; and I thank all for listening and responding.

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Though everyone is creative, not everyone possesses the confidence or skill to respond with a coloured drawing like this:

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During the evening I was also asked whether I would consider bringing the pop-up OORFC to two relatively local galleries. I certainly hope that this can happen - that would be the icing on the cake.

And, of course, what made the event special for me was learning that Johanna McWeeney both created and exhibited her work ‘Evensong’ which actually incorporates the words ‘What are we doing to our children’ in her beautiful painting. I have gladly used, with Johanna’s permission, a detail from this painting on the introductory ‘About’ page of this website.

Thanks to everyone who received the OORFC message so favourably and thanks also to both Anna for all the hard work for organising and presenting such an ambitious event here in Devon, and to the Earl of Devon for offering the use of Powderham Castle.