Here at the Museum of Classical Archaeology, we’re always excited when artists find new and creative ways to view our old friends, our plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculpture. So when a new relationship with Cambridge Community Arts did just that, we were over the moon.
Cambridge Community Arts (CCA) is a local charity which runs a great programme of courses, promoting personal growth and improved mental wellbeing through arts and creativity. We hadn’t previously had the opportunity to work with CCA so we were only too pleased to welcome them into the Museum when one of their groups taking a Level 2 Qualification in the Creative Arts came to visit in March. This group’s focus is photography, under the excellent guidance of Helen Perry, and the course provides the students with the opportunity to learn and develop skills, as part of a small group within a very supportive environment. I had the chance to introduce the group to the collection –always a joy when visitors discover us for the first time!– before leaving them to let their creative juices flow.
Later in the course, as the students were starting to build up an impressive array of work, I was approached by CCA’s Director, Jane Rich, about the possibility of hosting an exhibition of the students’ work. Fast-forward to June: the Museum was lucky enough to put on an exhibition of photographs by the students called “Wanderings with a Camera”: an assortment of photos of our casts, as well as others from a range of different locations, including some beautiful nature shots. Though it was impossible to choose a favourite, among some of our highlights were a cheeky shot of the Farnese Hercules taken from an unusual angle (forgive the pun!), a collage featuring a motley crew of many of our favourite casts and a photo sculpture in the shape of enormous leaves. The students were invited to the Museum one evening for a private view, during which they were able to celebrate their work and their achievements with their friends, families and teachers. As the evening came to a close, Director Jane Rich told the group, “It’s such a good exhibition in a great setting, you made me very proud.”
Many of the students were kind enough to tell us how much it meant to them to have the opportunity to display their work in public:
“I feel very proud and it was quite overwhelming in a good way.”
“It was magical.”
“I’m so proud, it shows how far I have come.”
Congratulations to all the students for their hard work, and many thanks to Helen Perry and Jane Rich for their tireless efforts to make this exhibition happen. It was a pleasure to display the student’s beautiful photographs and hear how much they enjoyed sharing their work with a public audience. It’s been great to work with CCA on this project and I very much look forward to working with them again in the future. We’re already starting to plot what we might be able to put on next summer… Watch this space…