CHILDREN from across the borough are being encouraged to pick up their paintbrushes for an art exhibition to be judged by world-renowned artist Ashley Jackson.

The exhibition, organised by Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club, is open to children from each of the primary schools in Barnsley with the aim to encourage them to be creative. The pupils will create the art within their school, which will be judged by Ashley.

Speaking at the launch event, he spoke about how his love for art was encouraged by his teachers.

“If it wasn’t for my art teacher, Miss Netherwood, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She saw what I wanted to do and persevered with me and she told me not to be put off by anybody and to make my own path.

“People always like to pull Barnsley folk down but I want to show these kids that if you keep going and do something that you love then you can go far. I hope this exhibition will encourage schools to prioritise art because children are really creative and need ways of expressing themselves.”

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The success of the exhibitions that take place in Sheffield encouraged Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club to set up the event for Barnsley children.

“We saw how much the children loved the event that takes place in Sheffield each year and the idea lit up like a lightbulb,” said Darfield councillor, and joint Rockley president Trevor Smith.

“Children who are good at art have limited opportunities to show their work and most of the time only have their work shown on the fridge. Education is more focussed on the ‘core’ subjects but they don’t always encourage children to think creatively. I think art can help the children with their other subjects because it challenges them to think outside the box.

“We just want to give the children a chance to shine.”

The artwork will be judged in four age categories; three to five years, six to seven years, eight to nine years, and ten to 11 years and the winning child from each category will receive a plaque which can be displayed in their school.

Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club is currently appealing for primary schools to take part in the exhibition ahead of the judging which will take place in November.

To enter, contact Trevor Smith on tsmith9892@aol.com, or phone 079709 21607.