The Merchants’ Academy Art Programme is an exciting and innovative series of artists’ commissions and student activities within the provision of the new Academy.
A number of student projects were outlined with Young Enterprise (YE) which offered students a range of learning activities that encourage responsibility for management, sales and marketing. Older students worked on projects that brought them into contact with professionals from the Creative Industries, and younger students were involved in projects focussing on the environment of their new school. These projects compliment the two main integrated, permanent artist commissions within the school.
For the first commission, artist Tod Hanson painted directly onto the facade and interior walls of the Academy. Hanson worked with pupils, staff and the Academy architect, Penoyre and Prasad, to develop his vibrant and distinctive designs, which incorporate elements of traditional heraldry and the crests of Bristol coats of arms and the Merchant Venturers, the Academy sponsors.
The second commission was by Glasgow based artist Stephen Skrynka. His work Resurgam, located in the central courtyard, incorporates a marble clad pod dotted with tiny portholes, through which to view a time lapse film of the previous school being graffitied and subsequently demolished.
Both artists consulted and worked with groups of young people during the development of these projects, giving a voice to young people throughout the implementation of the art programme. The works succeed in building awareness of the role of creativity within the school environment and contribute to the identity of the Academy.