Next generation of gallery visitors are Mini Makers

Mini Makers getting creative at aspex
Mini Makers getting creative at aspex
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There is no doubt that kids love to draw, paint and get creative, but a visit to an art gallery is usually less appealing to them.

The aspex gallery in Gunwharf Quays is changing that with Mini Makers workshops, bringing families into the gallery for fun, creative activities based around its exhibitions.

Mini Makers getting creative at aspex

Mini Makers getting creative at aspex

Mini Makers workshops have been running at the Gunwharf Quays gallery for three years, and since January have become a weekly event.

Aimed at children aged between 18 months and eight and their families, they are fun, artist-led workshops.

Vicky Chiswell, participation project co-ordinator at aspex and lead artist for Mini Makers, explains: ‘They are fun creative sessions where I set-up three different art spaces for activities around a theme. It usually involves some painting and some collage and lots of different materials.

‘The themes could be absolutely anything. Some sessions are based around art exhibitions at the gallery, some are themed around events like Valentine’s Day or Christmas,’ continues Vicky.

This weekend’s workshop is entitled Fun With Fabric and includes creating fabric collages and fabric portraits as well as making finger puppets and painting activities.

Future Mini Makers events include a special free session as part of Portsmouth’s Lost Hour events on March 24.

The Lost Hour children’s event is all about finding time for culture on the day that the clocks go forward.

Says Vicky: ‘The session in honour of the Lost Hour will allow people who haven’t been to Mini Makers before to try it out for free.

‘We’re going to be doing some 3D work with Plasticine and the theme will be characters in literature, so children can be inspired by their favourite book character.’

Occasionally, other artists are invited to join the sessions, usually run by Vicky who has a degree in photography from the University of Portsmouth and joined aspex as a volunteer a few years ago.

She adds: ‘Mini Makers is just about families being creative together really. And it gives children an opportunity to have fun and get messy in an environment where they can do that.

‘We want to get as many families and children through the gallery as possible and we want to get families being creative, so we try to link the workshops with the exhibitions.

‘The Mini Makers are a great way to introduce art to children and get them interested in it.’

Mini Makers is held in aspex’s new Lighthouse building every Saturday from 10.30am to 11.30am and costs £5. Places must be booked in advance by calling the gallery on (023) 9277 8080 or e-mailing

Participants are advised to wear old clothes or bring an overall. And children under seven must be accompanied by an adult.