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2D and 3D Installations

Learning Contexts

Visual Arts


One of the final panels for the school foyer

Peter Cleverley


Weston School

Duration of Project

10 weeks

Students Involved

240 students, Years 0 - 8

The completed panels in the new administration block look festive and fabulous, a visual feast of colour and form that emit feelings of whimsical delight on entering the space.

(Peter Cleverley, Artist)


The school called on artist Peter Cleverley because they were in the process of building a new administration block and they wanted to create an installation of 2D and 3D items that were integral to the design and environment of the school office foyer. Working with the architects of the building, who allowed wall space for display purposes, they used conservationally sound, non-permanent canvas panes for wall areas. On these panels each child in the school was given the opportunity to create art pieces using the concept of family and environment making art that reflected their unique North Otago lifestyle and experience, art that was grounded in their daily lives at school, home, farms and community. Overarching this was the night sky painted in luminous paints showing Matariki and the Southern Cross, giving children a sense of their place in the scheme of things.


Artistic Experience: (taught in five by one and a half hour sessions for each class)

Peter took all classes through Colour Theory , by teaching students about colours - how to mix and make them, their properties and temperatures

Peter then demonstrated, introducing new mediums step by step, how to make a 3 dimensional creature of the students' own choice (or star/starfish in the case of the Juniors).

Step One: Wire netting armature for a star

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Step Two: Papier Maché over armature

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Step Three: Plaster of Paris then goes over papier maché

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Step four: Painting the creatures

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Step five: Peter, after preparing the canvases, co-ordinated the painting of the panels by the students.

Peter then installed the large, completed panels in the new administration block, looking festive and fabulous, a visual feast of colour and form that emit feelings of whimsical delight on entering the space. (Peter)

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Student learning

Year 8's comments:

Because Peter is an expert, he sees things in your work that other teachers don't see. He can see what makes a good picture and he talks to you individually at your level.

 Peter allows you to develop your own ideas. He gives you freedom and then gives you pointers along the way.

 Peter is an artist and he is different to a teacher because he has a greater depth of knowledge of colour and how to make colour.

 Peter is a professional. He is an experienced person showing you how to do it right, do it properly. I wouldn't have known how to make this bird otherwise.

 Peter is able to see things about our work. He is able to take an idea from our work and tell us things I wouldn't have thought of.

 I like the way Peter can tell us about N.Z. artists as we make our birds

Related learning

Social Sciences: The knowledge, skills and experience gained during the project integrated well with the strands of Identity, Culture and Organisation, as well as Place and Environment and Continuity and Change, as the students came to grasp how the past is important to people, how our place in New Zealand is significant and how culture is expressed in our daily lives.

Impact on school community

Besides the P.D within the class lessons that we appreciated, Peter ran a painting workshop for the teachers, which we found challenging and instructive.Peter offered an all day drawing and painting workshop for parents and teachers, which they found enormously rewarding.

 This is wonderful P.D. We are learning alongside the students, learning new skills.

 It is so refreshing to watch an artist working with your students. He helps to rekindle your enthusiasm and delight in the children's art. Because a professional artist really loves art, and values the students' art and respects their efforts, he builds a special rapport with them.

 An artist is able to demonstrate learning at different levels. He introduces new vocabulary (e.g. armature) that we would never have used. He introduces these words to all the students from 5 - 13 years, so there is continuity in the children's learning.

 Watching Peter at work increases my confidence in my teaching: he is experimenting and trying out ways of doing things, just as we do.

 It is interesting seeing Peter move around all the students individually, encouraging, helping, and guiding with such a sure hand. We don't have that experience to be able to suggest or comment, but it is interesting to see how much the students appreciate that recognition and comment.

 It is so good to see professional people from 'the outside world' working - it is a good model for us to see a professional artist at work.

Artist's comments

This expansive, interactive experience was energising for me, arming me with skills that I would not have gained in my usual position of supervising students one to one at tertiary level, or indeed working in isolation on a body of work in my own studio.

 The enthusiasm of each and every child was hugely stimulating. I had reservations over 5 year olds being sustained whilst making a (3D) object over five one hour periods - it was a big ask. How wrong I was to underestimate them... they simply took on more complexities in their creations than I had initially thought them capable of... it was rewarding for me to witness how naturally they would use the information to enhance their work.

 Coincidentally, I was preparing works for an exhibition of my own while on this residency, and I seemed to make them with ease (for once!). I used water colour, which I hadn't experimented with for years, on paper, with acrylic medium under glitter!! I know it was the the children's unpretentious, intuitive, industrious creativity I witnessed daily that rubbed off on my nine new paintings.

Curriculum links

All four strands of the Visual Arts Curriculum were holistically encompassed during this project:

  1. PK – developing practical knowledge in the visual arts
  2. DI – developing ideas the visual arts
  3. CI – communicating and interpreting in the visual arts
  4. UC – understanding the visual arts

The vision of creative, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners was given broad scope to develop in the project as the students worked together to create an "art gallery" for the new administration block. They were given the opportunity to open their eyes to talents and interests they can explore throughout their lives.

The values in the NZ Curriculum found real expression in this collaboration with Peter. The students learned about excellence as they aimed high in their art work and there were multiple opportunities for curiosity and innovation as they worked creatively to develop their ideas.

The project also helped develop the key competencies. The students related to others as they listened, negotiated and shared ideas. It was all about working co-operatively and sharing ideas. The children were encouraged to think creatively, making sense of experience and ideas. Peter gave opportunities for all the students to use creative processes to communicate their thoughts and ideas.

Where to next

Art is about communication and, in this project, the students were given scope to use symbols and images to communicate with each other and the community.

Above all, this project was about community and participation by being actively involved in the Weston School community. The students were drawn together to participate with a local painter and school families for the purpose of learning new skills and creating together art works that will delight, fascinate and commuicate with all-comers what it means to be a member of a community. Future projects that involve artists, the school and community are planned not only to enhance the school and local environment, but to enhance learning through meaningful contexts.

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