2 Tour de France banner artworksThis project first started in October 2013 when Tony attended a presentation given by the Tour de France Cultural Festival along with local councillor Richard Parker. With the TdF passing right through Pool in Wharfedale, the challenge was to engage all primary school age children of Pool in a community arts project that could be displayed along the route. After a great deal of thought, Tony and I came up with the concept you see in the images here. Working alongside Richard Parker, the councillor in charge of events, we next applied for funding from several sources and finally, with the support of the council and our local MP Greg Mulholland, won approval and funding from Leeds Inspired at Leeds City Council. Work then started in earnest at beginning of March this year.

Karen with children at one of the art sessionsThe whole community of Pool in Wharfedale are very proud that our village has been chosen as one of five spectator zones along the Grand Depart stage 1 route. Something really dynamic was needed to demonstrate that the world’s biggest cycle race, The Tour de France, is passing through.

Briefing children at one artwork session This is why we came up with an idea that not only involves the community but creates a lasting legacy for all to see. Twenty giant double-sided banners, featuring 40 children and their artwork, will be fixed to lamp posts along the route through Pool in Wharfedale.

Children with their completed 'wheel' drawingsTo get to this stage, first involved three, very enjoyable, artwork sessions with local primary school children. These were very much collaborative workshops involving more than 80 children, their parents and a host of helpers. Each session was stage managed by us in partnership with Richard, who is very much a local hero having been an extremely popular teacher at Pool School until retiring a few years ago. The children were encouraged to be as creative as possible in their drawings to replace the front wheel of a bicycle. We didn’t want to restrict their creativity in any way; whatever they drew would be paired with a comment that could be related to a great day of events in Pool to celebrate the passing of this world famous event – the Tour de France. Every child was also photographed, using the magic of ‘green screen’, as if sitting on a real bike. As these sessions were held during school holidays they were more akin to a fun day out, and I think this relaxed atmosphere meant that we gathered together some amazing artwork from each and every child. Just incredible!

'Green screen' photographyBack to the studio, and our computers, to piece together the artwork for every banner. Photographs of the children were cut out of the green background and placed onto a sketched bike. We then applied their drawings to the front wheel, devised a relevant comment, added the necessary extras and voila! (Of course it was all a bit more complicated than this, but hopefully you get the idea!)

Interviewed live on radioNow the artwork is all ready and waiting for the next stage. As this has been a community project from the beginning, involving local press and television coverage, we are organising a coach to take the children to view their banners being printed. I shall be posting another blog after this process and the actual installation of the banners have been completed.

"Wow! I'm on telly as well!"I also wish to add mine, and Tony’s, thanks to all who have been instrumental and aided us throughout this project, especially Cllr Richard Parker.

Karen van de Bospoort

2 finished pieces of art for the wheel

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