New Tate Building Welcomes 3000 Schoolchildren As First Visitors

Schoolchildren and young people from across the UK will be the first public visitors to the new Tate Modern at a special preview on Thursday 16 June. Welcomed by artist Bob and Roberta Smith, they will get an exclusive opportunity to explore the new displays and the new building, and be inspired by modern and contemporary art from around the world. 

To celebrate the event Bob and Roberta Smith has designed a badge as a souvenir for all participating children to take home, emblazoned with the words, ‘All Schools Should be Art Schools’. The programme for the day, A.S.S.E.M.B.L.Y., has been devised by artist Emma McGarry. Activities will range from poster-making inspired by the Guerrilla Girls, to creating their own live performance art in the Tanks, all encouraging groups to ask questions, form opinions and express ideas.

Over 100 schools will travel to Tate Modern, many invited through the Plus Tate network of regional visual arts organisations. This will range from Stronsay Junior High in Orkney to Helston Community College in Cornwall, Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir in Derry~Londonderry to Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in Caerphilly. It will also include schools both local to Tate Modern and outside London who regularly collaborate with Tate through its Schools and Teachers programme, including William Davis Primary School in Tower Hamlets and Rydens Enterprise School in Surrey.

Plus Tate is a network of visual arts organisations across the UK.  In 2010, it was launched with eighteen partners to share collections and expertise and to provide a platform for collaboration. In 2015 sixteen more visual arts organisations across the UK joined Plus Tate, to almost double the size of the cohort of partners to 35 including Tate. The expansion came in the wake of the Warwick Commission Report which highlighted the importance of building strong arts organisations outside London.

Bob and Roberta Smith said: ‘We are all growing together, children, artists, parents, teachers and people working in museums. The opening of the new Tate Modern will expand our imaginations and I look forward to seeing the reaction to this wonderful new space.  It’s going to be fun’.

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: ‘We have built Tate Modern for the next generation. This special day signals Tate’s ambition to give some of the young people with the least access to art and culture the opportunity to express their own thoughts and creativity and to engage with art on their own terms. We are pleased that we can invite schools from around the UK, many through our expanded Plus Tate network, and welcome them to the new Tate Modern.’

Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern said: ‘I am delighted to be welcoming children as the first public visitors to the new Tate Modern. Creativity is immensely important to learning. The new Tate Modern allows us to continue inspiring and nurturing the next generation of artists and art lovers.’ 

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