Pupils get creative for light festival

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Ilkeston students showcased their creativity as they made contributions to this year’s Erewash Festival of Light finale.

The Arts Award Gold students at Ormiston Ilkeston Enterprise Academy made masks and a giant puppet, which were paraded through the Market Place in Ilkeston.

The event celebrated Chinese New Year, which marked the finale of Erewash Borough Council’s Festival of Light.

The festival began in 2006 and is a rolling programme of activities, festivals and events which celebrate a range of traditional and culturally diverse celebrations from September to February each year.

Chinese New Year celebrations attract about 400 people each year and highlights include a lantern procession, a traditional dragon dance, ribbon dancers, live Chinese music and displays of flags, banners and illuminated animal puppets depicting animals from the Chinese Zodiac.

Professional dancers, musicians and other artists worked with schools and community groups to create a huge range of performing and visual art work to display.

Students at the academy worked on their contributions as part of their Arts Award Gold qualification.

Kate Le Prevost, extended services officer at the academy, is running the Arts Award Gold course alongside art teachers Sarah Griffiths and Ruth Jones.

She said: “The students worked for four days on their contributions alongside other students across the academy. They started with a completely blank canvas and came up with lots of different ideas. They made and decorated masks and a giant puppet head as well as a banner. They really enjoyed it and are proud to be involved in a fantastic celebration.”

Sophie Barrowcliffe, 16, is studying Arts Award Gold at the academy.

She said: “We made masks which I really enjoyed. I came up with the design for the face then added feathers on to it. It’s great to be involved in a festival like this.”

Student Connor Willis, 16, said: “Making the masks was good and I didn’t really know much about Chinese New Year before so it was interesting.”

Since it began, more than 15,000 people have taken part in the Festival of Light in Erewash, through workshops, public events, creating artwork or attending the celebrations.