Press Release: Frank Bowling, CIRCA PIPELINE
SIR FRANK BOWLING AND CIRCA LAUNCH INITIATIVE TO GENERATE £500,000 IN ART SUPPLIES FOR STATE PRIMARY SCHOOLS ACROSS THE UK
- A print release with purpose: generating £500,000 in art supplies for 100 UK state primary schools distributed in partnership with Findel Education;
- One hundred hand-signed prints (£7,200 each) released on CIRCA.ART will coincide with Frank Bowling’s 90th birthday, 26 Feb 2024. Register here;
- Each print will enable 300 children (approx. 30,000 in total) to participate in the CIRCA PIPELINE: Frank Bowling Arts Programme 2024/5;
- To apply for your UK state primary school to participate, register here;
- Print 90/100 to be displayed at Hauser & Wirth London, 13 Feb – 16 Mar.
February 2024, London ➳ Launching with one of Britain’s greatest living artists, Frank Bowling inaugurates CIRCA PIPELINE – a new print initiative to generate £500,000 in art supplies for 100 state primary schools across the UK. Coinciding with the artist’s 90th birthday on Monday, 26 February 2024, 100 hand-signed, 14-layer, silk-screen prints will be released exclusively on CIRCA.ART to enable more young people the opportunity to make a life in the creative sectors.
Sir Frank Bowling, OBE RA, said ➳, “Access to materials isn’t just about creating; it’s about nurturing possibility. Artists will always do what they have to do and find ways of doing – art finds a way, but young children need schools to be a place of artistic possibilities. It’s not just about making art; it’s about making sure they feel empowered to create, no matter what. Let’s spark that fire early on.”
A print with purpose, the CIRCA PIPELINE initiative responds directly to a creativity crisis in UK state primary schools. In 2019, 68% of primary school teachers in England felt there was less arts education now than in 2010, with 49% believing the quality had decreased. In 2021, the creative industries sector contributed £109bn to the UK economy – equivalent to 5.6% of the UK economy that year. Yet, the current education curriculum does not reflect this potential for young people. The 2023 ‘Arts in Schools’ report by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and A New Direction notes that ‘there is a lack of value ascribed to the arts within the state education system in England’ despite the evidence which shows the importance of an arts education to young people’s skills development.
Highlighting the intersection of art, education and philanthropy, proceeds from the sale of ‘Understanding Frank’ (2024) will facilitate the rollout of an arts programme to over 100 UK state primary schools in 2024/5. In partnership with Findel Education – one of the leading eCommerce educational resource suppliers in the UK – 30,000 children will receive free access to paint, brushes, colouring pencils and canvases. Fostering a deeper appreciation for the arts in classrooms across the UK, a six-week programme developed between Frank Bowling Studio, Goldsmiths, University of London and CIRCA will guide children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old on a journey to create their very own paintings inspired by Bowling. CIRCA PIPELINE will culminate in the Summer of 2025 when participating students’ work will be exhibited on Landsec’s Piccadilly Lights. Schools and teachers are encouraged to apply online to participate before 30 April, 2024.
Bowling is known for his pioneering experimentations with paint, including his celebrated ‘map paintings’ (1967–71), which feature vast fields of colour overlaid with stencilled maps of the world. ‘Understanding Frank’ (2024) originates from a collage created inside Bernard H. Gundlach’s ‘Understanding Numbers’ colouring book for the exhibition ‘Dialects: Diverse Bookworks by Black and Hispanic Artists’ (1980), curated by Horace Brockington. The exhibition brought together artists of colour working outside of book art – including Frank, David Hammons, and Sam Gilliam – to create new experimental works. Created at a time when artists of colour had limited opportunities in the art world, this new release supporting the CIRCA PIPELINE is the only work by Bowling ever to feature a map of the British Isles.
Inviting people to ‘spark a fire’, each of the 100 hand-signed prints by Frank Bowling will enable one school (approx. 300 children) to participate in this free nationwide arts programme. Forming a new community of 100 ambassadors motivated by making a positive social impact, those interested in ordering a print and supporting the CIRCA PIPELINE: Frank Bowling Arts Programme 2024/5 are encouraged to register online before the public release on 26 February 2024.
Reinforcing their shared commitment to fostering a diverse art ecosystem, this collaboration between Frank Bowling and CIRCA follows in the footsteps of Arrival (2023) – the artist’s first digital artwork – which premiered on London’s Piccadilly Lights in May 2023.
NOTES TO EDITORS
An urgent response to the creativity crisis in UK classrooms, CIRCA PIPELINE works with world-leading artists and institutions to establish a clear and accessible pathway for young people to pursue a life of artistic freedom. This new, open-access pipeline focuses on primary education by providing children between the ages of 5 and 11 with the material means to create and exhibit art to a wider public.
The initiative is made possible by Frank Bowling. Proceeds from the sale of ‘Understanding Frank’ will enable 100 schools to participate in a six-week arts education course. Each school will receive professional guidance alongside a free pack – distributed in partnership with Findel Education – containing the following materials:
- 120 Specialist Crafts Paint
- 300 Stretch Canvases
- 300 Long Round Paint Brushes
- 300 Colouring Mixing Trays
- 300 A4 Sketchbooks
- 300 Pan Sets of 12 Classmates Colour Watercolours
- 300 White Synthetic Sable Brushes
- 2,880 Findel Everyday Colouring Pencils
- 1,440 Specialist Crafts Graphites
ABOUT SIR FRANK BOWLING OBE RA
Born in Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1934, Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA arrived in London in 1953, graduating from the Royal College of Art with a silver medal for painting in 1962. By the early 1960s, he was recognised as an original force in London’s art scene with a style combining figurative, symbolic and abstract elements. After moving to New York in 1966, Bowling’s commitment to modernism meant he was increasingly focused on material, process and colour so that by 1971, he had abandoned the use of figurative imagery. Bowling became a Royal Academician in 2005 and was awarded the OBE for services to Art in 2008 and a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020. In 2022, he was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize, which honours exceptional contemporary artists. His work is represented in fifty collections worldwide. It has been exhibited widely, including the 2017-19 touring exhibition Mappa Mundi, the hugely successful retrospective at Tate Britain in 2019 and the major solo presentation Frank Bowling’s Americas at MFA Boston in 2022, touring to SF MOMA in May 2023. (frankbowling.com)
ABOUT FINDEL EDUCATION
Findel is an eCommerce educational resources supplier in the UK and international marketplace. Origins can be traced back to 1817, and they own brands including Hope, GLS, Davies Sports, Philip Harris and the newest – EuHu, a digital platform specifically designed for teachers and educators. The brands provide full coverage in all product and content areas for primary, secondary and early years teaching. Findel also provides specialist resources for school business managers, science teaching, and PE and sports equipment.
In 2023, a key focus area for Findel was to expand its offering and provide a platform for sustainable growth across 10 activity pillars. Much of this success was driven through the Findel Foundation – which has an ambition of positively impacting children, their education and their future every day. (findel-education.co.uk)
At Landsec, we build and invest in buildings, spaces and partnerships to create sustainable places, connect communities and realise potential. We are one of the largest real estate companies in Europe, with a portfolio of retail, leisure, workspace and residential hubs. Landsec is shaping a better future by leading our industry on environmental and social sustainability while delivering value for our shareholders, great experiences for our guests and positive change for our communities. (landsec.com)
ABOUT PICCADILLY LIGHTS
Piccadilly Lights is an icon. With 100 million people passing through Piccadilly Circus each year, it’s a landmark that displays the best and most technologically advanced advertisements. It also shares news and celebrates achievements through curating experiences by spotlighting causes and supporting worthy partners. From digital activations to full-scale takeovers and events, the 780 sq m screen uses innovative and interactive technology to showcase brands to the world. Piccadilly Lights is operated by Ocean Outdoor on behalf of Landsec, who have been custodians of the world-renowned screen since 1968, and demonstrates how Landsec look beyond a simple façade to build something that lasts. (landsec.com/properties/piccadilly-lights-w1)
CIRCA would especially like to thank Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA, his family and studio, Findel Education, Hauser & Wirth, Goldsmiths, and Piccadilly Lights for supporting this initiative.
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