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Clyfford Aug 11

Art & Design Saturday Club take Clyfford the Dragon to London

A two-metre tall dragon has demonstrated how far imaginations have been fired by York College’s Art & Design Saturday Club sessions this year.

“Clyfford of York” stood proud during the recent National Saturday Club Summer Show public exhibition, held at Somerset House in London.

The dazzling dragon was the culmination of a collaboration between all of our Saturday Club members, who are aged between 13 and 16.

He was literally one of the biggest stars of the three-day show that saw National Saturday Club groups from up and down the country display their talents.

As well as participating in fun activities, the Saturday Club members also enjoyed a Graduation Ceremony at King's College London's Bush House – another historic building.

Art & Design tutor Diane Holt, who accompanied the members to the exhibition along with their families, said: “It was fantastic to see the work assembled vertically as we had spent several weeks looking at it laid prone on desktops so, to see 'Clyfford of York', as he has become affectionately known, upright and taller than us was quite the spectacle. He is true testament to the efforts of the York College National Saturday Club members who have all worked as a collaboration this year in every sense of the word since receiving their original artist brief.

“They democratically chose between four display options that dictated the type of presentation they would be working towards, which included 2D, 3D or digital options. They then had mini art meetings with mind-mapping planning out the what, why, where, how, who and when of their work before creating their hearts out to produce their giant space dragon into a golden, multicoloured piece of art.

“It wowed the National Saturday Club team who described it as ‘beautiful’. The feedback about how amazing the work looked was then repeated on Sunday when we arrived at Bush House for the Graduation.

“The group have excelled themselves with their work ethic and ability to navigate work as a collaboration and piece together their individual contributions. They saw the bigger picture (and Clyfford was rather big at 1m x 2m) and, from a small idea on a white board months ago, they trusted the process and their creative abilities and, most importantly, believed in themselves and each other. The work spoke for itself and I couldn't be prouder of them all.”

This year’s Art & Design Saturday Club, which was run in conjunction with York St John University, included a masterclass delivered by multidisciplinary artist and designer Tejumola Butler Adenuga, who has worked for international brands such as Adidas, Beats by Dre, Selfridges, the MTV Video Music Awards and Dr. Martens.

The intention of the Masterclass is to showcase the way in which skills developed at Saturday Clubs can be applied in the real world and, for many members, it proves the moment they realise that their passions and interests have the potential to develop into fulfilling and rewarding careers.

Members, though, enjoy a variety of benefits from the weekly sessions with one enthusing: “Art Club has given me the opportunity to develop my art and social skills as well as giving me a place to experiment with different media I don’t get to use elsewhere. It also encourages me to keep being artistic and develop my skills as, before Art Club, I often hit blocks that I couldn’t get past which led to me discontinuing my art for a while.”

The parents of our members are also big fans of the club that is free of charge.

One said: “I appreciate the club’s support and it allows my child to develop their creative skills, which shows in their work. Their art is simply stunning.” Another added: “The National Saturday Club programme has been brilliant in encouraging my child to build positive relationships outside of school and the family environment.” A third pointed out: “I appreciate that I am not asked to pay for my child to attend a club that they benefit from so much but which I could not afford. It is such a precious resource.”

For more information on our Art & Design Saturday Club and to register your interest in a place for the 2023/24 academic year, click here