Bluecoat puts young visitors at heart of new summer exhibition


An exhibition of work created especially with a young audience in mind is on show at the Bluecoat.

Are You Messin’? will be accompanied by a summer of complementary events including workshops, performances and storytelling, aimed at children and their adults.

The immersive show, which runs through four gallery spaces at the School Lane arts centre, has been designed to be touched and explored, and to inspire visitors who step through the door.

Gallery One features work by Liverpool artist Gregory Herbert, who has been collaborating with children from the Bluecoat’s Out of the Blue after-school art clubs to create an immersive sensory room with stimulating visuals, soothing sounds and comfy spaces.

Herbert has also been working with youngsters from Leamington Community Primary, Four Oakes Primary, Princes Primary and Smithdown Primary School.

Across Gallery Two, Katie Schwab (London/Glasgow), who has a special interest in early and mid-20th Century design, will layer textures, touchable surfaces and sculptures to create two rooms that invite tactile engagement and learning through play for all ages.

In Gallery Three, artists from the city and wider north will present ‘inspiration works’ - prints, drawings and sculptures - as the starting point for creative responses, playfully displayed in a hands-on making artist studio specially designed and scaled for children. The space will feature artworks by Penny Davenport, Kate Hodgson, Aliyah Hussain, Fauziya Johnson, Josie Jenkins, Kohenoor Kamal, Emily Lansley, Millie Toyin Olateju, Niloo Sharifi and Linny Venables with furniture by Crown Building Studios.

And finally in Gallery Four, children and families can enjoy a contemplative library space with a specially selected reading list including dual language books focused on creativity and identity.

The room will be embellished with a hanging mobile by Liverpool artist Millie Toyin Olateju who has also designed an ice-cream cart and gazebo which will serve Cheshire Farm Ice-cream from the Bluecoat’s courtyard over the summer holidays.

Are You Messin’? is at the Bluecoat until September 18.


Top: Katie Schwab Knots family day at BALTIC, Gateshead, 2018. Photo by Colin Davison.