ACT Artists-in-Schools Program 2011

The 2011 Artists-in-Schools program placed practicing ACT artists in ACT schools for projects lasting between 1 and 2 school terms. Resident artists worked with schools to develop a collaborative project with an emphasis on engaging students in learning through creative inquiry and exploration. Projects in 2011 were held at the five ACT early childhood schools, and included sculpture, glass-making, printmaking, textile arts and puppetry. Details of the five selected artists and their projects are below: 

Geoff Farquhar Still at Southern Cross Early Childhood School

Sculptor Geoff Farquhar Still worked with children at Southern Cross Early Childhood School to design of a metal sculpture for the school’s courtyard. The artist involved the children in the creation of exploratory designs, experimenting with form and colour in search of a collective idea for the final sculpture. Children and their families also had an opportunity to visit the artist in his workshop while he was constructing the final product and learn about the tools and materials he works with, and the way he works as an artist who creates large metal sculptures.

        Geoff Farquhar Still working at Southern Cross School 


Caren Florance at O'Connor Cooperative School

Book artist and printmaker Caren Florance (Ampersand Duck) worked with the children of O’Connor Cooperative School on the art of printing and making books. The project, “Postmark Mail Art,” linked into the school’s strong focus on activities for Literacy and Numeracy Week. Under Caren’s guidance and the cooperation of teaching staff, the children explored old typewriters, a printing press and learned how to make a number of different kinds of books using book art techniques. The project culminated in the creation of the children’s own printed and designed postcards, and a community walk to the post office to mail their final pieces to lucky recipients.

        Caren Florence working with OConnor Cooperative School      Caren Florance working at OConnor Cooperative School      


Michele Grimston at Lyons Early Childhood School

Textile artist Michelle Grimston worked with children at Lyons Early Childhood School on a collaborative quilt which is now displayed in the school hall. The children created the ‘School of Our Imagination’ quilt based on the school values and creative ideas from the children. A range of new recycled materials were used, encouraging children to explore colour, design and construction under the guidance of the Ms Grimston. Ms Grimston also involved the school community in other fabric-based activities including a project with parents ‘up-cycling’ old clothing.

        Michele Grimston working at Lyons Early Childhood School      Michele Grimston working at Lyons Early Childhood School


Marian Mettes at Isabella Plains Early Childhood School

Puppetry artist, performer and musician Marianne Mettes brought her puppetry practice to Isabella Plains Early Childhood School, showing students the many dimensions of creating a puppet show. Students took an active part in all aspects of the project from the design of puppets and sets to movement, performance and improvisation. Students also enjoyed role-playing and characterisation. Ms Mettes complemented aspects of the project with guitar-playing and singing, which was well-received by children and teachers. Ms Mettes also worked with the teachers to tailor the puppetry program for students with special needs, as necessary.

        Marian Mettes working with Isabella Plains Early Childhood School      Marian Mettes working with Isabella Plains Early Childhood School


Mikki Trail at Narrabundah Early Childhood School

Visual artist Mikki Trail worked with children at Narrabundah Early Childhood School on a glass art project. The children explored design and form as well as the science of glass-making using sand and other materials. Their explorations culminated in a trip to The Canberra Glassworks where they cast their final artworks which were individually designed ‘windows’. Ms Trail also ran a project for younger children at the school who couldn’t attend The Canberra Glassworks, facilitating the design of painted tiles. The colourful tiles are now on display at the school. 

Each of these artists was responsible for the creative development and delivery of a major project in one of five early childhood schools, as well as delivering creative skills and development workshops for staff and the broader school community over a 12-14 week period in 2011.

The Artists-in-Schools program is an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts in partnership with artsACT and the ACT Department of Education and Training.

For more information about the Artists-in-Schools Program contact artsACT on 6207 2384.


To see how some of the Artists-in-Schools projects progressed, follow the links below to two of the artists' websites.

O'Connor Cooperative School arts project:

Isabella Plains Early Childhood School arts project: