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Happy new year from all the staff at Art UK.

The return to normal life begins this month, as we finish off the last of the Christmas treats and try to stick to our new year resolutions. However, January also represents a very important landmark in our Sculpture project as we announce the start of our national learning and engagement programme!

Appointed as the Learning and Engagement Manager for Art UK at the end of 2017, my role over the next three years will be to deliver an ambitious range of public engagement programmes which aim to delight, excite and ultimately engage local communities with their sculptural heritage.

Working with diverse audiences including schools, young people, local history enthusiasts and community groups, Art UK will be overseeing a wide range of events and activities up and down the country that will encourage the public to enjoy the diversity and creativity of a sculpture collection that ultimately belongs to them.

This week, our first programme ‘Masterpieces in Schools’ will launch by email to 38,000 teachers across the UK. Based on the success of our previous project in 2013, Masterpieces in Schools will see 125 sculptures by well-known artists loaned to local schools for a day. Participating collections, including museums and galleries across the UK, will support the programme that will run until 2020.

Pupils from St Matthew's Primary School in Stretford examining a work by L. S. Lowry during our Masterpieces in Schools project in 2013

Pupils from St Matthew's Primary School in Stretford examining a work by L. S. Lowry during our Masterpieces in Schools project in 2013

Schools across the UK can volunteer to receive a sculpture for the day, allowing them to spend an exciting day off-timetable with their pupils exploring the breadth of learning these artworks can support. Many children will never have had the opportunity to get this close to such significant works of art, and we hope this opportunity offers a very special and memorable opportunity to all the children, young people and staff involved.

Our previous project, which saw oil paintings by artists like Monet and Turner loaned to schools for the day, was extremely well received and reported on internationally by publications like The New York Times. We can only hope this year will bring similar attention to our Sculpture project!

Alongside Masterpieces in Schools, a range of other projects are due to be launched this year including ‘Sculpture Around You’, a series of pop-up events across the country, films made for and by young people, resources and events for blind and partially sighted people, and an ambitious volunteering and work experience programme.

Culture Street working with young people from Cumbria to make a pilot sculpture film during our development phase

Culture Street working with young people from Cumbria to make a pilot sculpture film during our development phase

2018 is set to be an exciting year for the us at Art UK and we can’t wait to bring you more updates.

If you would like to know more about any of the opportunities mentioned above, the Learning team would love to hear from you at learning@artuk.org

Laura Woodfield, Art UK Learning and Engagement Manager