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Fusion Arts and the Pegasus Theatre joined forces to run Oxford Extra Arts, a multi-agency learning programme where artists from different art forms such as drama, dance and the visual arts, ran after school workshops for children from 12 schools across the city that are part of the Isis and Headington partnership.
The children would first visit one of the museums in Oxford, either the Pitt Rivers, the Ashmolean, the History of Science Museum, the Oxford Museum, the Botanical Gardens, or a specific exhibition, for instance the 100 Years of Mini exhibition at the Mini Plant Oxford, to gather ideas. The children then created pieces of work in response both to their visit to the collection of choice and a specific theme to showcase and parade at community events around Oxford, for example, The Cowley Road Carnival or the Jamboree at the Pegasus Theatre. With the help of artists, the children created colourful costumes, banners, puppets and large-scale artworks.
Oxford Extra Arts was sponsored by the School Partnerships.
In 2009, Isis and Headingdon Schools Partnerships worked with Fusion Arts to deliver a series of after school art clubs under the theme of Home-made, to make costumes and songs in preparation for the Cowley Road Carnival.
Artists worked with the children to create colourful costumes and fun songs for the procession and at the end of the series, the children took part in the carnival procession alongside the carnival professionals and had the opportunity to wear and carry their own creations.
Under the theme of Inventions, Oxford Extra Arts 2010 ran for six weeks and was yet again a great success. Fusion Arts placed artists in local schools to work with the children to create colourful costumes, banners, puppets and large-scale artworks for the famous Cowley Road Carnival procession. Working closely with the Pegasus Theatre, dancers from the theatre oversaw the project along with the artists and teachers at the schools. The sessions culminated with the children taking part in the carnival procession alongside carnival professionals, and had the opportunity to wear and carry their own creations.
The theme for Oxford Extra Arts 2011 was The Time of Our Lives. The programme followed the same format as Oxford Extra Arts 2010 and was another fantastic and exciting opportunity for children to create and showcase their creations.
During the summer of 2013, a series of art workshops were delivered to up to 240 pupils in schools across Oxford. Once again, experienced visual artists and professional dancers from the Pegasus Theatre got involved to organise a range of dance routines and create vibrant costumes for the Carnival procession. In preparation, and under the theme of Wheels of Change, each school involved visited one of the Oxford collections for inspiration. The procession saw costumes and structures that included sarcophagus’ and Egyptian inspired sculptures, vintage cars, and balloons influenced by their findings.
This year, Oxford Extra Arts 2013 was funded by Van Houten Trust and Mini Plant Oxford.
In 2013, Oxford Extra Arts led to the project In-Tents-Arts. The parallel project took the form of a series of after-school workshops at twelve schools across Oxford, during which school children and artists worked towards creating and decorating three art tents. The project was inspired by the objects that the artists and school staff had encountered at the Pitt Rivers museum on an inset day previously and aimed to create new fun and interactive creative spaces.
Fusion Arts work with artists, groups and communities from across Oxfordshire and beyond to support a variety of imaginative and socially engaged projects.
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