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Changes (RAF 2017)

This commission combines the work of 20 winning artworks by children ages 5-15 into one mixed media painting, which became the primary image for the Royston Arts Festival in 2017. This year’s theme was ‘Changes’.

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You know how I’m always going on about how you should start changing the world right where you are?

Well this is me walking the walk and not just talking the talk. When I can, I try my best to use my skills to serve my community and this was an excellent opportunity to do so.

The Royston Arts Festival is an annual celebration that runs on the last week and weekend of September with a plethora of creative events and activities across the town. This year, Creative Royston (the Festival’s organising committee) decided to host a schools’ art competition to see how children across the town would interpret the festival theme – Changes. Children aged 4-16 were invited to send in their drawings and paintings and I selected 20 winners whose work would end up in the final artwork for the programme cover.

The selection process focussed on their interpretation of Changes and their execution of that interpretation. Let me tell you, I could easily have picked 40 winners. Kids understand way more than you think they do!

The children of Tannery Drift School, Greneway School, Roysia School and Icknield Walk School thoroughly interrogated the concept of changes in ways that were just wow! When 7 year olds create their own quotes about change, 10 year olds show how a neighbourhood can rise and fall, or change the face of Britain with just a flag, and 11 yr olds show that change occurs under pressure, we should all be listening.

There were 20 winners! There was no 1st or 2nd or 3rd place, all 20 of these winners stand equally. The winning young artists and their contributions to the finished piece are listed below (in alphabetical order). Can you spot each artist’s work?

Alana – 4 yrs – Tree with yellow flowers & cluster of blackbirds or crows in the top left of the painting
Charlie – 10 yrs – Tree stump at the centre of the clock
Charlotte – 7 yrs – Changing is life, the chameleon & seasonal leaf prints
Elise – 10 yrs – Human life cycle at the bottom of the painting
Ella – 10 yrs – Tree without leaves on the bottom & centre left side of painting
Emma – 9 yrs – Butterflylifecycle in trees on the left side of painting
Fraser – 10 yrs – Streetsign, clockhands and ‘BAD’ graffiti
Grace – 10 yrs – Streetlight, boy & girl staring at the tree stump
Hermione – 10 yrs – House lit from the inside, doors thrown open with person standing in silhouette
Kara – 10 yrs – Happy neighbourhood vs broken neighbourhood
Leo – 11 yrs – Cogs, pipes and pressure gauges
Lilianna – 10 yrs – Concept of a clock as the centre piece with building around the border/circumference
Lily – 10 yrs – Froglifecycle
Nico Sofocleous – 8 yrs – Saber tooth tiger
Nicole – 12 yrs – Girl releasing the silver threads of hope at the bottom of the painting
Penny – 10 yrs – Nightsky with snow specks
Perdy Brooks – 9 yrs – Polar Bear
Rhiannon – 10 yrs – Teenage girl with mobilephone
Samantha – 13 yrs – Night sky and tree (on the right) with ‘mangoes’
Tyler – 10 yrs – Diversity flag

The final piece is a mixed media, multi-layered painting on a canvas that previously had the painting Ye Old Royston Town on it. The change from that painting (which was about historic Royston) into this one which gives the views of Royston’s future adults is most fitting.

It was an absolute honour and a privilege to unite all these stunning works of art about ‘change’ into one painting that acknowledges the changes created by: seasons, life cycles, population growth and decline, neighbourhood finances, life choices, tolerance and acceptance, reflection and restlessness, climate change, deforestation and industry…

You know what?
These kids blew me away!

Learn more about this collaboration with Creative Royston here,
See more Festival Programme Cover Art here, and
See media coverage here

Additional information



Copyright 2017 Creative Royston & Stacey Leigh Ross



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