Guest blog by Claire Webb, owner of the Paint Pottle in Market Harborough, on why creative communities matter and why creativity is essential to the development of babies and children.

It is not difficult for the news to make me cross these days or maybe it is my age (I cringe to hear my mother in me, more and more) but the recent proposal by Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to cut funding of arts subjects at universities by 50% set me off!

Apparently arts subjects are not “strategic priorities” for our government.

But they should be.

In fact, I believe access to the arts and arts in education should be a fundamental right.

Why the arts are essential

The arts are important – not just because they do actually contribute (over £10bn) to our economy but because they contribute hugely to the variety and richness of our communities and quality of life.

And, in a time when our lives are complex and varied, the exploration of arts and culture, the constant exchange of growth and opening of ideas, is essential.

It’s hard not to get political about the argument.

When the Department for Education speaks about “targeting taxpayers money towards the subjects which support the skills this country needs to build better,” it is clear that ministers have missed the point.

Creativity fosters mental growth

The arts positively impact people’s lives.

The Cultural Learning Alliance makes a very powerful case for this impact and what they break down into the four values of cultural learning; the social, educational, economic and personal in their report ImagineNation: the value of cultural learning.

Creativity fosters mental growth.

It provides us and especially children, opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving and working together.

The importance of creativity for babies and children

Before I opened The Paint Pottle seven years ago, I worked for children’s creative development agency The Mighty Creatives.

Their aim is to ensure every child and young person should have access to creative and cultural experiences.

Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate children’s uniqueness and diversity and it is widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to promoting children’s wellbeing – another worrying topic in the news recently.

Self-expression through the arts allows children to express complex feelings and supports validating individual and collective identities.

It not only empowers children but also helps to improve their health and wellbeing. And it’s fun!

The Paint Pottle: fostering creativity for young people

This is why I set up The Paint Pottle.

Working at The Mighty Creatives gave me a passion for giving children the basic right to access opportunities which positively contribute to their personal development, nurture their emotional intelligence and work towards good and inclusive communities.

The Paint Pottle puts that passion in practice.

I wanted to create an environment where creativity could flourish and a place where children (and adults) could have a relationship with art not just as consumers, but share the fun of artistic experiences with friends and family.

That’s also why you’ll see us working alongside organisations such as Castle Lane Day Nursery, who understand the power of creative exploration in the development of language, physical and thinking skills, imagination and understanding.

It is also why you see us pop up at events in the town such as Arts Fresco, the Summer Carnival or via The Harbs Collective town trails, so that we can give as many children as possible access to their right to arts and culture.

And hopefully, by building a creative community here in Harborough, we will be able to show government decision makers of the future that the arts have a unique value in contributing to building a better community.

Get creative with your kids this summer at the Paint Pottle!

If you would like to explore your creative side with your little ones, then why not book a studio appointment at the Paint Pottle during the school summer holidays?

For anyone booking in to paint between now and the end of August 2021, you can get a second piece of pottery for HALF PRICE.

To book a place, simply email the Paint Pottle, quoting ‘Castle Lane.’ Prices start from just £10.

We very much look forward to painting with you!