Mick’s Blog: An update from our Local Community Artist

At the ‘art’ of the community

For this, my first blog in a little while, I want to give you an overview of the schools art workshops we deliver throughout the North of England.

But before I get into that I want to doff my imaginary cap to our amazing Customer Care Officers without whom the workshops wouldn’t happen.

The every day image of NGN could easily be lots of yellow barriers, digging holes and roadworks .  Whilst some disruption is unavoidable when we’re carrying out our vital work, we’re doing lots of things to help make life a little easier for customers.

We’re privileged to be based in the heart of the community and this presents some fantastic opportunities to form relationships with local groups and centres for education including schools, and to give something back.

I recently went to Sandal Castle Primary School in Wakefield where we are carrying out work to replace 2.7km of ageing metal gas mains with modern plastic pipes in Mountbatten Avenue to ensure customers in the area continue to receive a safe and reliable supply of gas for years to come.

I delivered an art workshop to Year 5 pupils (ages 9 and 10) to help them learn about the important work that we do and teach them about how to stay safe near roadworks as well as helping to develop their interest in art.

Some may become artists, some may become engineers and some may even work for NGN, but all will be our future customers.

The workshop

The work shop is two hours long and is made up of two sessions.

In the first hour I present a slide show explaining what a gas distribution company is and how many pipes we have, how many customers we serve, how many staff we employ and the diversity of roles, why we’re replacing the pipes and the importance of playing safely near work sites.

Then I give them an overview of my role as Local Community Artist for NGN by showing them some of my paintings and drawings…

PIC 7 Local Community Artist Sketch

Daily sketches, highlighting the benefits of regular practice in building any skill…

Local Community Artist Drawing

Murals…

Local Community Artist Painting

Banners..

Local Community Artist Banner

And charity paintings…

Local Community Artist Charity Paintings

Then I try to explain how real concentration eliminates any distractions and helps you work! Watch this short video to test yourself: 

Then after the first hour it’s over to them. Working from a handout, each child makes a painting.  Most enjoy it…

Local Community Artist Workshop

Some are not sure at first…

Local Community Artist Workshop

But in the end they are all very proud of their work.

Local Community Artist Workshop

All that remains is for me to photograph the paintings and transform them into a mural before sending them off to print!

Finally, a banner gets delivered to the school and two go on our work sites in the area. And sometimes the mural is printed on one of our vans so that the kids can spot their work when they are out and about.

Well done Sandal Castle Primary School!  You should feel very proud.

“Thank you so much for coming into school this afternoon and working with our Year 5 children.  The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and their work was fantastic.  You may even have converted our reluctant artists and inspired them to give things a go! We can’t wait to see the finished mural and show it off in school!”

Sarah Reynolds, Sandal Castle Primary School, Wakefield