Art gallery opens in the heart of Thomas Gainsborough School
13th March 2017
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Art gallery opens in the heart of Thomas Gainsborough School

Students at a school named after one of the country’s famous artists have begun benefitting from an exclusive gallery space in the heart of their building.

Thomas Gainsborough School this week officially opened the Molfrey French-Owen art exhibition studio to showcase both the work of students and inspiring artists from the community.

The studio was named after a long-term supporter of the school and welcomed by staff, students and community leaders alike.

Wayne Lloyd, headteacher, said: “When we first decided to rename the school in honour of Thomas Gainsborough, we wanted to reflect our heritage and the whole community it serves.

“We wanted to place art right in the centre of everything we do. This exhibition gallery does this by showcasing the outstanding work of our young people in an expectational space right in the heart of the school.”

Mr Lloyd said the decision to name the gallery after Molfrey French-Owen was in recognition of her 20 years tireless dedication to the school and her “passion for the creativity of young people in our community”.

Ms French-Owen, a governor at the school, said: “It is a huge honour and I am really impressed by the exhibition space.

“I started supporting the school after my son, Ianto, attended the school 20 years ago and I have been involved ever since.”

The official opening saw students witness their paintings exhibited for the first time and sixth-form student Alexia Gortsilas said: “It is amazing to have this area for students to have their work hung. It looks really professional and it is a wonderful place to showcase your work.”

Ed Clark, head of art at the school, said: “The students now have an area where they can see their art work has been prioritised in a hugely professional and impacting way.

“Our plan is to have other exhibitions from artists in the community, and we are already working with Gainsborough House in Sudbury, as well as art students right across the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, of which we are part of.”

The studio, which replaces a former under-used reading room, was welcomed by dignitaries who attended the ribbon-cutting on Wednesday.

Pam White, chair of Great Cornard Parish Council, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for creative students and I am sure they will benefit from the new exhibition space.”

Sue Ayres, town mayor of Sudbury and a retired teacher, said: “I will support anything that promotes art in the curriculum and it is encouraging to see what has been achieved at Thomas Gainsborough School.”

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