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The Wild Escape: From Novium to Nature

Young people in the Chichester District will have the opportunity to get involved in a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of biodiversity and ecology with a series of workshops coming to The Novium Museum.

Wild Escape media release - credit Trevor Beattie SDNPA

Led by national art charity Art Fund and supported by a major National Lottery Project Grant from Arts Council England, The Novium Museum joins hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses coming together for the largest ever collaboration between UK museums.

Taking place from January to July, The Wild Escape invites children to find a favourite animal in their local museum and create an artwork imagining its journey to a natural habitat. The pictures and stories the children create will then be brought together in a collective work of art that imagines a better future for the wildlife on our doorstep, which will be unveiled at a community event in Priory Park on Earth Day, Saturday 22 April. 

As part of The Wild Escape, The Novium Museum received a grant of £2,970 to run a series of free art workshops for children aged 7-11 years old during the school Easter holidays.

Developed and led by professional artist Rachel Johnston, the workshops will take inspiration from objects within the museum's collection as a starting point for a discussion on the importance of animals in the natural world. Youngsters will explore the adventures these creatures could have in our local habitat and tell their own stories of the animal's 'Wild Escape'.

The young artists will then work with textiles to make prints of their chosen animals, exploring the important role that nature and wildlife play in our local environment, before the individual artworks are combined to create one large piece.

Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Culture and Community Services at Chichester District Council said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to discover more about their local area, as well as delving deeper into The Novium Museum's collections. The Chichester District has a vast and vibrant habitat, home to a wealth of wildlife spanning the South Downs to the sea. We hope that the work produced will raise awareness of biodiversity and ecology in our local environment and encourage as many people as possible to come along and support our Earth Day event."

The event will celebrate nature, past and present, across the Chichester District. Featuring arts, crafts and activities led by The Novium Museum and joined by heritage, arts and culture, green, wildlife and outdoor organisations from across the district, the event aims to raise awareness of the current challenges we face and how everyone can play their part to protect the environment.

Jenny Waldman, Director of Art Fund, said: "I'm thrilled that The Novium Museum is joining hundreds of organisations from the Outer Hebrides to Folkestone to connect thousands of children with the natural world through the UK's truly great museums. Thanks to the invaluable support of Arts Council England, the Wild Escape will empower families and children across the UK to visit and discover our wonderful museums, whilst taking positive action to picture a better future for our wildlife."

The Wild Escape workshops will take place at The Novium Museum on 4, 5, 11 and 12 April. To book a place on one of the four free workshops visit The Novium's website (opens new window)Workshops are strictly for children aged 7-11 years old and will be limited to one session per participant.

Organisations that would like to take part in the Earth Day 2023 event should contact: noviumlearning@chichester.gov.uk

Date of release: 24 January 2023

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