School Prints revives a ground-breaking scheme set up in the 1940s by Brenda Rawnsley, where artists including Henri Matisse, Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso were commissioned to create prints as part of a project to bring contemporary art to school children.
Inspired by this project, The Hepworth Wakefield has invited six British artists Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten, Haroon Mirza and Rose Wylie – to create limited edition prints responding to the original 1940’s brief.
The prints are available to purchase from our shop in editions of 85, available for £500 each. All funds generated from the print sales will fund the learning programme.
As part of the School Prints project, we are launching an Art SOS campaign to raise the profile of the importance of art in schools. Share your first memories of arts education with us by using @HepworthGallery #ArtSOS and #IWill.
The contemporary prints will be presented in a special display at Phillips in London until 25 January 2018.
About the 1940s School Prints
This scheme was realised through the passion and persistence of Brenda Rawnsley who developed the idea with her late husband Derek and Yorkshire-born poet and art critic Herbert Read.
In 1946 and 1947, Brenda Rawnsley encouraged British artists to create lithographic prints for schools. Conscious of schools’ low budgets, artists were asked to include decorative borders so that the prints could be pinned up without the need for framing. Around 4,000 schools subscribed to the School Prints scheme and many people also purchased them.
Following this success, Rawnsley recruited even more artists for her project, including Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Henry Moore, culminating in the European Series.
Sadly, the European series, published in 1949, was not a huge success with the schools, many finding them too avant-garde. As a result the School Prints initiative was dissolved.
Buy the prints
The contemporary prints will be given to six Wakefield schools and offered as low-cost posters with teaching resources to schools nationally from 28 March. If you are a teacher or school interested in participating please register your interest by emailing email@example.com
School Prints is a five-year project that will see us working with every area of our district to engage Year 5 students from every primary school in Wakefield. A programme of engagement activities will include workshops with contemporary artists where students develop a range of responses to the prints, with finished works being added to the exhibition.
Antony Gormley has generously donated a drawing to The Hepworth Wakefield to loan out to local schools as part of the project, and has donated a limited edition print that will be sold alongside the newly commissioned works.