Using art as a means to communicate a global and environmental message, Jane Lee McCracken in partnership with Born Free Foundation, Artist Teacher Christine Egan-Fowler, RGS, Linda Peacock Arts Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross and a group of dynamic teachers are working towards the following exhibition:
- Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition of children’s endangered species Biro drawings created in Jane’s exhibition workshops working with ten North East schools, alongside a selection of Jane’s artwork created specifically for the exhibition.
This exhibition proposed for 2021 will allow children from local schools to see their work on display while encouraging children, parents, carers and families to further their understanding about the issues the project raises.
Children of Jarrow Cross Primary School visiting Where Did All the Animals Go exhibition to see their work on display and research the exhibition for their Arts Award project
Using simple materials with the artist at its hub, and with her long-standing partnership with prestigious international wildlife charity Born Free, the project involves North East schools and communities with whom Jane has built trusted relationships. The group of Education Partners whose knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm is seen as a tremendous asset to the project, includes:
Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher RGS, co-instigator & Project Partner
Linda Peacock, Art Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross Primary School, co-instigator & Project Partner
Katie Lawrenson, Art Co-ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields Education Partner
Sara Punshon, Arts Co-Ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary, Seaham, Education Partner
Sandi Letton, Arts Co-Ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland, Education Partner
Samantha McCulloch, Junior School Staff, RGS, Education Partner
Africa species 2019 colour Biro drawings, children of Jarrow Cross
In 2019 Jane worked with over 400 children from nine schools delivering drawing workshops for children to create unique and sensitive portraits of endangered species for the pilot exhibition at Thought Foundation, Birtley: Where Did All the Animals Go? An Exhibition of North East School Children’s Drawings Working with Artist, Jane Lee McCracken 20 June – 22 July 2019.
Participating schools and teachers included:
Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
Linda Peacock, Arts Co-Ordinator, Jarrow Cross CE Primary School
Sara Punshon, Arts Co-Ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary, Seaham
Sandi Letton, Arts Co-Ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland
Katie Lawrenson, Arts Co-Ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields
Ridgeway First School, Whitley Bay
St Oswald’s RC Primary School, South Shields
Whickham Parochial School
Europe and Oceania species colour Biro drawings by children from St Mary Magdalen Primary School and Mortimer Primary School
The exhibition provided an opportunity to experience the beauty of child art as well as form connections with each vulnerable species, through the creative response of a generation of young people.
Honey Bee 2019 colour Biro drawing, Lucas Year 4 St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School, Seaham
On display also, were Jane’s original Biro drawings and large format prints of her drawings exploring loss generated by human destruction and representational of both life’s beauty and brutal reality, creating memorials of lives lived, both human and animal and ways of life and environments lost. Her intricate drawings take several months to research and make and incorporate complex and symbolic drawing layers, which also encompass her love of film, bringing a cinematic quality to her art.
Hiroshima Unicorn Pinup (detail) 2017 green Biro drawing, WAR series Jane Lee McCracken
As exhibition curator, Jane produced:
- An illustrated booklet given to each participating child and endorsed by Born Free Education, which included species information, environmental education, and drawing and portraiture tips
- The exhibition, which included 50 framed A2 Biro drawings by children aged 5 -11 years old accompanied with species information labels; a selection of Biro drawings and large format prints by Jane; a ‘Community Wall’ of Biro drawings created by adults and children in a special project fundraising workshop delivered by Jane in January 2019
- A film catalogue of all participants’ drawings to ensure that each child’s work was represented in the exhibition. This film was projected on the gallery wall so that drawings appeared in large scale format alongside conservation status and species population to give further impact to the plight of each species
- A pop-up shop featured three newly commissioned A3 posters designed by Jane featuring a variety of children’s drawing, from schools across the North East; selling to raise funds for Born Free Foundation, WCS Malaysia and Save Wild Tigers
- Jane ran a series of brilliant Biro drawing workshops, open to all ages, throughout the exhibition
- A free leaflet, available throughout the exhibition, as part of the educational resources provided: 12 Ways You Can Help Wildlife includes contributions from Will Travers OBE, Laura Gosset and David Bolton, PC Peter Baker, Dr. Melvin Gumal and Jane
- A dedicated project page: janeleemccracken.co.uk/blogs/where-did-all-the-animals-go
- Three films which can be viewed here
- Fundraising prints of the children’s drawings (with permission from the schools and artists) are available from Jane’s online store here: janeleemccracken.co.uk/collections/exhibition-posters-and-prints
Harry Year 4 Mortimer Primary School, South Shields with his Great White Shark 2019 colour Biro drawing
Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder Born Free: Headline speaker at the Endangered Species Conference 2019
Held in conjunction with Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition is the Endangered Species Conference open to all members of the public, schools and local community. The conference focuses on the importance of wildlife and biodiversity to humanity and addresses positive ways to encourage individual action and collective responsibility towards wildlife welfare.
The conference comprises:
- Prestigious environmental and conservation speakers delivering presentations and Q&A sessions about endangered species.
- A panel of children presenting their concerns and their resolutions to tackle the environmental crisis.
- Presentation of ideas by speakers who have discovered new and innovative ways to help endangered species and the environment
- Post-conference discussion opportunity highlighting what has been learned and a paper recording findings and recommendations to be used as resource.
- With Drawing and a key artist at the centre of this project, it has proven to be a driving force that encourages children to become ‘environmental brokers.’ Elyse Feenan, student RGS Newcastle was inspired to give a school assembly and develop an active recycling project after attending one of Jane’s drawing workshops.
Elyse Feenan, environmental campaigner, RGS speaking at the 2019 Endangered Species Conference; top image: Will Travers OBE courtesy of Climate Change North East
One inspired child is potentially a future creator and conservationist and the project creates opportunities for children to champion global issues with children already expressing a wish to speak alongside experts at the next conference.
The project also questions how animals are traditionally placed in our childhood psyche, and challenges this to emphasise that humans need to live in harmony with wildlife in order to preserve our only habitat, Earth. It also reinforces the ethos of Born Free, that wildlife belongs in the wild.
Image courtesy of Will Travers OBE and Born Free
ENDANGERED SPECIES CONFERENCE 2019
As part of Where Did All the Animals Go? 2019 exhibition of North East School Children's endangered species Biro drawings, Jane also organised and hosted the Endangered Species Conference, 22 July 2019 at host venue Thought Foundation.
Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder Born FreeFoundation, was headline speaker. Will had previously delivered a talk at the Sage, 20 June 2019. With an introduction by Jane, esteemed speakers, who also dedicated their time to deliver talks included Dr Melvin Gumal, Director of WCS Malaysia, Professor Russell Hill, Durham University, PC Peter Baker, Northumbria Police WCU, Elyse Feenan, environmental activist and RGS student and Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher, RGS, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Will Travers OBE, Jane, and young artist Ramsay Year 5 Jarrow Primary School with his Mum at the Endangered Species Conference 2019
The conference was a tremendous success with high praise received from attendees, many of who stated that the speakers had changed the way they thought about wildlife and enlightened them to actions they could take to help vulnerable species.
Read articles featuring each speaker's presentation here
Read the Endangered Species Conference and Where Did All the Animals Go? Exhibition highlights and quotes here
With kind thanks to the following organisations and individuals for their invaluable help with the exhibition and conference:Sponsors
The Royal Grammar School Community, Newcastle upon Tyne
Big Local Central Jarrow
Mortimer Primary School
Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops, Jane Lee McCracken
Laura Gosset BSc (Hons), MSc, Head of Education Born Free Foundation
David Bolton, Education Officer Born Free Foundation
Leanne Pearce, Director Thought Foundation
Gareth Billinghurst, Director Thought Foundation
Michaela Wetherell, Curator Thought Foundation
Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder Born Free Foundation
Dr. Melvin Gumal, Director WCS Malaysia
EXHIBITION PREVIEW 2019
Jane Lee McCracken at Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition before opening, Thought Foundation
The preview for the Where Did All the Animals Go? An Exhibition of North East School Children's Drawings Working with Artist Jane Lee McCracken was held on 20 June 2019 at Thought Foundation.