Girlguiding Centenary Portrait
Recently the Galleries welcomed a group of 210 Edinburgh Girlguide, Brownie and Rainbow leaders who were celebrating the culmination of their centenary year. It was a fantastic opportunity to introduce them all to the work we are doing at the Portrait Gallery and to talk to them about potential ways of working with their groups in the future. The themes, exhibitions and community focus of the new Portrait Gallery have great potential not only for Girlguiding groups but also for Scouts, Boys Brigade and other organised after school clubs for children.
At the event the group arranged to have their group photo taken for our Put Yourself in the Picture funding initiative. They wanted to record their special year for posterity and loved the idea of supporting our fundraising campaign while at the same time becoming part of our Portrait of the Nation. As well as being online, their picture will appear on a screen in the Portrait Gallery when it reopens in November 2011. Seeing them all in the Portrait of the Nation exhibition having their photo taken was a wonderful moment.
Earlier this year, in September, we held our first ever Brownie sleepover with a group of East Lothian Brownies. This pilot event, titled ‘A Surreal Sleepover’, linked to the Dean Gallery exhibition Another World. The Brownie group had after-hours tours of the exhibition by artists Paula Flavell and Louise Fraser and Curator Patrick Elliott. They then took part in late night painting and surrealist parlour games before spending the night sleeping in the Gallery. It was a huge success, demonstrated by some wonderfully creative feedback we received from the participants. An unexpected consequence of the event was that the members of National Galleries staff involved were awarded Girlguiding centenary badges, which they are all enormously proud of!
This new model of working with after school groups has enormous educational potential for the Portrait Gallery and we are looking forward to building relationships with groups and developing exciting events and projects for them to participate in.