Art project turns tide on rubbish on beach

Project co-ordinator Neal Petty and art teacher Helen Cooper with, from left, Lilly Chatterton, Henny Sonnemann-Petty, Ruby Gumbleton and Charlotte Bevan, all ten ks1500089-5
Project co-ordinator Neal Petty and art teacher Helen Cooper with, from left, Lilly Chatterton, Henny Sonnemann-Petty, Ruby Gumbleton and Charlotte Bevan, all ten ks1500089-5

TURNING the tide on rubbish is the aim of a new project, launched in Worthing.

Beach Creatures aims to inspire children’s creativity while teaching them about the environment.

Henny Sonnemann-Petty, ten, with creatures conveying the message 'do not throw away rubbish' ks1500089-2

Henny Sonnemann-Petty, ten, with creatures conveying the message 'do not throw away rubbish' ks1500089-2

The project was launched at Vale First and Middle School, Vale Avenue, Findon Valley, where year-five pupils designed a range of colourful creatures.

Working with Ferring firm Red Pebble Design, they put on an exhibition at St Paul’s Art Centre, Chapel Road, Worthing, last week.

Neal Petty, a film designer, collected bits and pieces from a 200-metre stretch of Worthing beach for the project, which he conceived to highlight the problems discarded and washed-up rubbish pose for local beaches and worldwide marine environments.

“I cleaned them all up then chose the shapes that looked nice and colourful pieces,” he explained.

“I wanted to make the children aware of the rubbish left on the beach but also to use it in a playful way.”

Kerstin Sonnemann, director, said the children produced innovative and fun creatures, adding personal messages about the effect of litter, and plastics in particular, on marine environments.

“They were shocked about how much rubbish there was in such a short stretch,” she added.

The project involved 60 children from two classes, working mainly in groups.

Art co-ordinator Helen Cooper said: “They had nothing to go on because it has not been done before. That is the best way to get art out of the children, because it comes out of what they think for themselves.

“There was also the whole impact of seeing what had been brought up from the beach in such a small space, they could clearly see it for themselves.”

Mr Petty said the children were encouraged to explore the ‘afterlife’ of things people throw away and, in particular, how plastics and netting disintegrate and affect marine life and the environment for decades.

The sculptures were designed to raise awareness and convey the message, by depicting creatures scanning the beach, protecting the sea, or, in some cases, even suffering.

It is hoped other schools will continue the project. Visit www.beachcreatures.co.uk for more information.