The Four Seasons Gallery
On 16th December the Four Seasons Gallery launched at Norton College. A new set of Practical Skills students have taken over the running of the gallery and have turned it into a new venture. Re-branded as the ‘Four Seasons’ the gallery is open on Wednesdays selling gifts, cards, artwork and much much more.
The gallery is hoping to showcase pieces of work from other artists and sell them at a 5% commission…So all you budding Jackson Pollocks out there get in touch and start selling your pieces. From photographs to collages, you can find a whole range of things in the Four Seasons. In November the group behind the running of the gallery pitched their ideas to a Dragon’s Den style panel, asking for a business loan to help with the start up costs of the business.
After an excellent pitch by all the students they were awarded the full amount, since then they have spent the money on frames, materials and branding their business with a logo and uniforms. “This enterprise experience has been fantastic for the students. As well a coming up with ideas for the name and logo of the gallery, the students have all been interviewed for their jobs as fi nance director, marketing, sales, creative, administration and operations directors. They have gained a real sense of ownership over the gallery as they are involved in all parts of the decision making process.” Emma Blackburn, Tutor. The Four Seasons Art Gallery is open to all staff and students every Wednesday 10 – 14:45.
This year the art gallery at Norton College was handed over to the students. I teach on the Practical Skills course, where most of the students have learning difficulties, so I knew that turning the Gallery into an enterprise run by the students would be challenging, as well as hard work, but I didn’t expect it to be so rewarding (for them and me!). We started with the students looking at different roles and responsibilities within the company, then going through a process of informal interviewing. Students assessed each other’s performance, looking at what went well and what areas they could work on, nearly all students stated in their evaluations that they learnt a lot from the exercise. We conducted some market research by asking students and staff their ideas for a name with ‘The Four Seasons Art gallery
at Norton’ coming out as an outright winner. Then came the ‘Dragon’s Den Pitch’ to the enterprise team asking to borrow the money we needed to set up card-making and gift-making. When it came to the pitch, they practised some key social skills, such as giving eye contact, shaking hands, and projecting their voices so that they could be heard. They got the full amount that they asked for from the Enterprise team.
Finally, it was the students, working with Alison Coulling from publicity, who came up with the logo design for the company. They were so excited when they saw the fi nished logo with their work on, that one student exclaimed ‘Look! My picture of a tree is on the logo!’ It’s been fantastic to witness the sense of pride that these students have felt in their hard work paying off. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without Sally’s help and support.
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