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Muddy tries: a great kids’ art class


Imagine a place where your kids can be let loose on guillotines, paint, scissors, wire cutters, marker pens and double-sided sellotape while you sit and chat with other parents, safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to them (and that they are having the arty time of their lives).

Imagine still a place where the walls can (and should be) written on, where aprons and hot soapy water are provided and where there’s no clearing up to be done afterwards. “Such a place doesn’t exist,” I hear you cry! It does… I’ve found it and I’m going to share it with you.

I have to admit that I need to thank my friend Sarah for this, who – on attending the weekday sessions at £8 a pop – realised that Sunday visits are completely free! Yes, they are less-structured than during the week, she tells me, but also have a great come-and-go-as-you-please attitude, perfect for children who are about as predictable as Donald Trump.

The best part is that these free Sunday art sessions take place at the lovey (and Muddy Award winning) Sainsbury’s Centre of Visual Arts, with its modern building, floor-to-ceiling windows affording grassy views and café serving hot meals, and – get this – beer and wine. They were even dishing up Sunday Roasts on my visit. There is even free parking – it really doesn’t get much better…





With an equal number of parents to kids (what could go wrong), we duly wait in reception for our stickers and then head downstairs to the Sunday Studio. Our supervisor, Theo, tells us that today we are going to try and replicate some of the buildings that make up the University of East Anglia (on which The Sainsbury Centre sits) using old pieces of lyno, hole punches, string and whatever else the kids fancy picking up and trying.


Kids can help themselves to a range of arty bits and bobs

Kids can help themselves to a range of arty bits and bobs


Not so intersted in this particular activity, my own child eyes up the messy screen printing (of course) and is soon sporting a plastic apron and wielding a roller covered in black paint. With so many arty tools on hand – think necklaces, coloured wire, pencils, old flooring tiles and coloured sticky tape – and no wall or surface out of bounds, the imagination can really run free.

Simply cover your hands in black paint...

Simply cover your hands in black paint…

And then put the on the wall. Easy

Put them on the wall!

Then wash it off!

Then wash it off!

Sarah and I (more Sarah to be honest) get stuck in and create a street scene on the wall using cut-out pieces lyno dipped in black paint for cars, necklaces rolled up and down to create a grass effect and small pieces of tape for windows on houses. At this point, I’m not sure who is having more fun, the children or us!

Sarah and Maya creating the street scene

Sarah and friends creating the street scene

On the other side of the room is a glass wall for writing, drawing and generally doodling on using a host of coloured pens.


Once our two hours is up, we take a walk around the ground floor of the gallery, where the Fiji, Life & Art in the Pacific exhibition is running until 12 February, plus a scout around the small shop which sells cards, books, toys, tea-towels and more.

The shops sells books

The shops sells books, amongst other things

All in all, this is a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon with the kids.

Sessions run once a month – check the website for details.
UEA, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ

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3 comments on “Muddy tries: a great kids’ art class”

  • Dani January 10, 2017

    We need to get involved in this !

    • jogardner January 10, 2017

      You should, it’s great


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