Children from Reay Primary discuss our under-the-floorboard finds

The project

Vincent’s Treasures is delivered in partnership with Reay School and Oval Learning Cluster. The project sets out to create arts-based learning opportunities in an area where many children are experiencing social and economic hardship – especially during the pandemic. By providing visits, outreach workshops in schools, running Inset sessions for teachers and making new online learning resources to do at home and in classrooms, Vincent’s Treasures is helping to increase the local community’s access to arts and heritage.

The project has an important role to play in helping children impacted by Covid 19 by providing creative activities for them to engage in together. We are  happy that we have (mostly) been able adapt and continue the project despite ongoing restrictions.

Piloted in 2019, the first phase of the project received funding from National Lottery Community Fund.  We are currently fundraising for the next phase, beginning in the summer term 2021.


Schools Workshops

Van Gogh House is a sensitive environment with limited access. Because of this, we have developed a workshop format that includes a short visit to the house, or tailored slide presentation followed by whole class workshops back in school.

Each session has a theme that starts with an aspect of the house, our archive of finds, or a facet of Van Gogh’s life – such as letter writing or his love of poetry. We adapt each workshop to the class’ needs, learning scheme and interests. The workshops always make cross curricular links with other subject areas. These have included: geography, history, exploration of resistant materials, poetry, literacy and handwriting. Art activities have included: clay work, sewing, collage, drawing and painting, poetry performance and calligraphy.

So far, we have carried out 3 whole day workshops with 70 children in four different class groups.

Button making workshop at Reay School

Supporting Teachers

Through Vincent’s Treasures, we are making new links between schools in the area and supporting them to develop their arts provision. This will help to build local infrastructure that will in turn help schools to support vulnerable children engage in the arts.

So far, we have created direct links with four local schools to accesses Van Gogh House for the first time.

The project also includes inset sessions for teachers from participating schools. In February, for example, we ran a twilight inset session in Van Gogh House with exhibiting artist Kate Bright. Kate gave a talk about her work and use of colour. Teachers then took part in a colour mixing and painting workshop that they could use with pupils back at school. In December we ran a socially distanced inset for Art Subject Leaders that included a tour of the house and a session on pen and ink drawing inspired by Van Gogh’s own drawings.

Teachers from Reay School attending an inset session on colour mixing looking at exhibiting artist Kate Bright's work, Feb 2019.

Online learning resources

We also want to make sure that we create lasting high quality learning resources that can be easily accessed by children and schools beyond our neighbourhood, during lockdown and well into the future.  To this end, we are launching our first online creative learning activities that can be downloaded by families and teachers.

We’ll be starting to upload our new resources from the end of January 2021. To receive more information and updates about the launch, please sign up to our newsletter.


Reay School workshop showing painting activity inspired by one of Van Gogh's favourite poems, "Autumn" by John Keats