Phone Photo of a casual Kate dressing in jeans on a visit to a London school
Juli Beattie is a remarkable woman, at 64 she is the founder and director of the charity, The Art Room which has grown in scope for over a decade. The project has not only been embraced by history of art graduate, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, but has grown to serve over 20 schools with 2000 plus students age 5 – 16. The main focus of The Art Room is to help kids from disadvantaged backgrounds deal with behavioral problems through creating art. The project is a pioneering charity based at Oxford Spires Academy. Its first satellite was at Rose Hill Primary School (Pippa’s Room) Oxford. The second is at Orchard Meadow Primary school in Oxford and the third is at Robert Blair Primary School in Islington, London. The Art Room works with the children to increase their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence through art. They offer ‘art as therapy’ using art to raise their self-esteem, self-confidence and independence. Many are disengaged from mainstream education, and withdrawn, all have been identified as needing special time away from their school. Some of the students may have specific learning difficulties or have had an interrupted education. Some have recently arrived in this country, some are prime carers within their family, others are ‘looked-after’ children (children in care). The methodology of The Art Room goes above and beyond using art as a vehicle for educational therapy. The emphasis is on teaching life skills while encouraging the children and young people to both relate and engage with each other. The Art Room has proved to be extremely successful in providing the support needed to help children /young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
In November, ArtLyst reported, the Art Room successfully auctioned works by some of the most important artists in Britain including, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Antony Gormley, Mitch Griffiths, Simon Gudgeon, Maggi Hambling, Patrick Hughes, Pedro Paricio, Lorenzo Quinn, Paula Rego, Jenny Saville, Yinka Shonibare, Gavin Turk, Richard Wentworth, Rachel Whiteread, David Wightman, Emily Young and many other acclaimed artists donated pieces to be sold in aid of the charity. More than fifty artworks went under the hammer of the auctioneer Charlie Ross, who also gave his time for free. The champagne event took place at Halcyon Gallery in London’s Bruton Street, who supported the evening which raised £140,000 for the charity.
The Director of The Art Room, Juli Beattie, was thrilled by the response “The generosity of Halcyon Gallery, the artists and our sponsors has been overwhelming, and we could not be more grateful for their support, for one of the best and most exciting fundraising events we have ever held.” A spokesman for the Duchess commented that Kate has not yet confirmed exactly which patronages she will take on, but that The Art Room is one that she is definitely interested in working with. The charity is hoping to become officially endorsed by the Duchess of Cambridge in the New Year.