YORK schoolchildren have talent aplenty - and here’s the proof. Youngsters from primary schools across the city were invited, by York Art Gallery and the York Civic Trust, to take part in a painting competition.

Their challenge: to paint a view of York inspired by a famous painting in the art gallery’s collection.

John Piper’s 1951 view of York Minster from Clifford’s Tower is a brooding, powerful work, dominated by stormy swirls of black but with the walls of some buildings, such as Fairfax House, lit up in a glowing orange.

It clearly appealed to the inner artist in York’s children. Almost 2,000 youngsters from 73 classes in 15 schools across the city took part in the competition - and the quality of the entries was extraordinary.

“We were delighted with the number of schools which took part - and with the extremely high standard,” admitted Verna Campbell, chair of the York Civic Trust’s education committee which helped organise the competition.

“The children really got into the spirit of the competition. They looked at their city: and some of their entries were very, very imaginative.”

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Imaginative: Minster in a Snowstorm by Matthew Kirby of Danesgate Community School

The judges - Verna and Gaby Lees, York Art Gallery’s assistant curator of arts and learning - had the difficult job of picking five winning classes from the 73 which entered. It is those five classes whose work is featured on these pages today.

Each of the winning classes has since been working with a professional artist to fine-tune their work - and the resulting pieces will ultimately go on display on the front of York Art Gallery.

Long before then, however, you’ll have the chance to see the children’s work up close in a special exhibition at York Art Gallery from April 29 - July 30.

“The schools challenge has proved a great success,” said Gaby. “These new artworks created by local budding artists will be a great addition to York Art Gallery.”

The exhibition will be held in the gallery’s project room - which means you’ll be able to pop in for a look without even having to buy a ticket...

The winning artworks

Osbaldwick Primary School, Years 5 and 6

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“The children thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the competition which allowed them to think about their city in a different way and what it might be like in the future,” said teacher Collette Young. “They researched space-age buildings, developed their design and drawing skills then worked brilliantly as a team to put together our final piece.

"The children are optimistic about the future and see York as a vibrant, exciting city where beautiful, old buildings and green spaces continue to be valued and preserved.”

Knavesmire Primary School, Year 1

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The class’s five- and six-year-olds were inspired to create their own version of Piper’s painting using a range of different materials, says teacher Saffron Coulson. The children worked in groups to create different parts of the work. The detail of the Minster was stitched on hessian; the sky was created by weaving different shades of blue fabric; felt was used for houses; and the spirals in the foreground were made from brown and black wool.

Copmanthorpe Primary School, Year 5

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Different: Alex Whatley, Rose Scott and Izzy Harris with Copmanthorpe's 3D artwork

Copmanthorpe did things differently - deciding to create a 3D artwork. "They first researched some of the buildings from the painting along with other well-known York landmarks and over Christmas, they collected lots of cardboard boxes," says teacher Kate Nicholson. "In teams, they went about constructing their chosen buildings out of the junk materials, reinforcing them with a layer of papier maché..."

Rufforth Primary School, Year 1-2

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Daisy Welborn, 6 and Freddie Russell, 6 with Rufforth Primary School's entry

“In our entry entitled ‘putting York on the map’ all the children in our key stage one class took part,” says teacher April Green. “The children began by making drawings of some of our city’s historic buildings, using a similar drawing style to Piper in pen, charcoal, pastel and paint. They particularly liked the fluorescent quality of the paint used in parts of Piper’s painting, in contrast to the dark, gloomy colours he also use. They began to make a montage on top of a map of the City of York.”

Danesgate Community School

Six children, aged 9-11, took part: and all are winners. They looked at several artists’ depictions of York, says teacher Rosie Hitchen. “They were very interested in how differently different people see the same thing and how this can be shown using a range of art materials.”

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Above: Old and New York by Joseph Scott, Danesgate Community School

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Above: The Minster in Spring by Katie Franks, Danesgate Community School

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Above: A Jumble of York by Ethan Power, Danesgate Community School

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Above: Starry Starry York by Freddie Vardey, Danesgate Community School

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Above: Cat on an old York roof by Demi Leigh Scafe, Danesgate Community School

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Minster in a snowstorm by Mathew Kirby, Danesgate Community School