Art on the Beach

By Jamie Bourgourd


You could hear the music from over the wall by Vazon Kiosk.  It sounded like there was a party on the beach and there was.  The Guernsey Arts Commission was holding an event full of child friendly activities.  I walked down the slipway and saw crowds of families.  I later found out that over a thousand people had visited that day.


The first activity I noticed was the sand sculpting.  A whale that was almost the size of a real whale was being crafted by Nathan Smith and other members of the community arts team.  They used shovels and wheelbarrows, equipment you wouldn’t normally use on sand.  The children watching wanted to touch the whale.  One found a creative solution, he said, “we’ll make a baby whale” which they did, one of the crafters said, “that’s a good idea” as he dumped a load of spare wet sand beside them.  Antonia Ramsey, one of GAC’s leading community artists told me that the first thing they did that morning was shovel the sand into the barrows from different locations and wheel it up the beach.  Antonia also mentioned that a giant lobster mascot roamed the beach warning people to wear sun lotion earlier.


I looked above the whale at the seawalls.  They were covered with chalk grafitti, some children were still drawing.  In any other context it might be alarming however, that was not the case here.  It was of course, a the Arts Commission who were encouraging this creativity.  Children were using different resources to try new things.


I walked further along the beach and saw 3D wooden fish and cut out paper fish.  They were being chased by the sand whale.  Windbreakers had been set up so that the children could be taught how to make these fish and contribute to the diorama.


The source of the music was the Soca dancing hosted by Darren.  Most of the commission and even a random Zumba Instructor, Brandi Dawson was drawn in to the free feeling dance.


Further along the beach I found a reading group.  I spoke to Liz Went who read Winnie Under The Sea by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul to the kids.  She said she was asking them to draw pictures inspired by the story.

At the end of the beach I saw an origami workshop.  The teacher there was showing the kids how to crease and bend paper to create birds.  The children made some mistakes but were helped every step of the way.    At the very end they were shown that if they pulled the bird’s tail, it’s wings would flap.  They were amazed.  It proves that with a little bit of patience you can get kids to make something that surprises and inspires them.  Caroline, the General Manager of the commission was less lucky but that could be blamed on exhaustion from the earlier dancing.  That was at the end of the day and two children who had been watching asked, “do you have time for one more?”


Overall, the event felt like a success and a good way for a family to unwind on a Sunday.

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