Our Royal Patron HRH The Duchess of Cambridge visits The Art Room in Oxford
The Duchess has visited two Art Rooms, in Oxford dividing her time between the Art Room based at Rose Hill Primary School and Oxford Spires Academy.
At Rose Hill Primary School, Her Royal Highness was given a warm welcome by the whole of the school, The Art Room’s Founder Director, Juli Beattie, and our Patron Mark Thompson as well as Oxford’s Vice Lord Lieutenant John Harwood and the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire Mrs Penelope Glen, Councillor Patrick Greene, The Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, Andrew Smith MP, Sara Thornton, CBE QPM, Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police and Head Teacher of Rose Hill Primary School Sue Mortimer.
The Duchess was presented with a bouquet of roses by Abi Abu-Boateng, aged 10, and Aleks Besevic, 11, who both attend The Art Room. The Duchess was also given with an embroidered apron with her name, ‘Miss Catherine’, the same apron that all The Art Room practitioners wear.
The Duchess then joined in an Art Room session, with six children including Jaydn Proffitt, aged seven (pictured). The project of the session was the Edward Lear poem, The Owl and the Pussy Cat and each of the children chose a favourite character to paint on an A1 size canvas. The Duchess engaged in the discussion which was held on sofas about the poem and was keen to ask the children about their work.
Founder Director of The Art Room Juli Beattie said: “We were thrilled to welcome the Duchess into The Art Room and to enable her to have a further understanding of ‘art as therapy’”
“The children made her feel very welcome and she in return felt at ease and joined in with the activities. The children took pride in showing The Duchess their work.”
The Duchess then visited Oxford Spires Academy, where she received an equally warm welcome from the school’s 900 pupils.
She was presented with a bouquet of tulips in a box covered in recycled stamps made at The Art Room, by Year Seven pupil Eleanor Oxenlade, who attends The Art Room.
During an informal lunch The Art Room’s Patrons, Trustees and staff members had an opportunity to meet with the Duchess and to thank her for Royal Patronage.
After lunch there was a round table discussion where The Duchess met four Year Seven pupils, who showed their recent work. They spoke about their clocks and what had inspired them and also explained why they attended The Art Room, at Oxford Spires.
The Duchess also met two graduates from The Art Room – Justin Whittaker, aged 19, and Kelly Appleby, 23. They both shared their experiences of how The Art Room helped them as they grew up and how the organization has inspired them in their adult life.
The afternoon continued with a round table discussion where The Art Room’s Managers gave case studies of the children and young people they work with. Also attending the afternoon were Sue Mortimer (Head Teacher of Rose Hill Primary School), Sue Croft (Principal of Oxford Spires Academy) and Emmanuel Botwe Trustee of The Art Room and Deputy head of Didcot Girls' School, who explained the importance of The Art Room within schools.