Check out Sunshine Coast Grammar's stunning new art precinct!

Fostering artistic passion in children is an important part of any school’s curriculum. Sunshine Coast Grammar School has recognised this in a major way this year with the opening of its brand new arts precinct at the Forest Glen campus.

“The school sees the importance of visual art and where it’s going,” says Dr Kerrie Corcoran, the Head of Learning Area Visual Art at Sunshine Coast Grammar School. Built as part of the college’s five-year strategic plan, the arts precinct is an architecturally designed building that encompasses three classrooms­—each with their own courtyard, a photography dark room, media room, teachers’ facilities and a generous gallery space where students’ art is displayed in a professional setting.

Sunshine Coast Grammar art classroom

“It’s a magnificent art facility,” says Dr Corcoran. “It’s an architectural feat. You come in and go, ‘Wow, this lends itself to creativity’.”

The precinct, housed adjacent to the Year 7 classrooms, is used by all students in Prep right through to Year 12.

“The senior students have their installations and wearable art at the moment, while the preppies have their wearable brooches for their mothers,” the department head says.

Dr Corcoran says having such a large, dedicated art space has made a significant difference in how the students can express themselves.

“We’ve got classrooms that are specific for the making of art, where students can work in individualised settings without any confusion or lack of space,” she explains. “The classes of 23 and 24 children have no hindrances with the size and scale of their artworks, whether it be fine arts and crafts, wearable art or performance art. Space is our greatest asset now.”

Sunshine Coast Grammar senior art

Recognising the great extent to which media arts have developed in the outside world, Grammar has also made sure it provides students with the facilities to nurture their interests and skills in this rapidly changing field. The precinct has fully-equipped spaces for film, animation, photography and digital design.

“We’ve got lighting, green screens and computer technology to support that. We also have 3D printers,” says Dr Corcoran.

The facility has been enjoyed and well-used by students and teachers since June. And it’s safe to say, it has been a roaring success.

“One student came up to me and said, ‘Miss, this is inspiring. It’s fantastic’,” Dr Corcoran says proudly.

The new space has solidified Grammar’s intention to give its students a quality arts education, in addition to its program being led by expertly trained art professionals.

“When they are fulfilling that part of the curriculum, each student comes out with a very polished, finished piece of art,” explains Dr Corcoran. “We are specialists in our fields, so we therefore offer students the highest of expert attention, I believe, to give that pedagogy and provide a curriculum that is based upon relevance to what the students do and see in the outside world.”

The program also has the flexibility to be student-led.

“In my clay animation class there are two boys who said they wanted to do computer animation, so we are allowing the students to diversify and drive their own learning,” she says.

Traditional Indigenous art continues to be a strong focus at Grammar too, with artists in residence visiting the school. Students also visit art galleries in Brisbane and along the Sunshine Coast, and experience incursions from professional photographers, illustrators and wearable artists.

Sunshine Coast Grammar art class

In 2022, Dr Corcoran says the school plans to expand further into media arts.

“I see film and graphic design becoming strong component in the curriculum,” she says. “It’s all about making it relevant to the outside world so that students can see it as a viable career. Now we have the facility to show off all those career pathways, we are looking forward to giving that to the students. It’s going a long way to change people’s perspective of visual art, that it’s not just something that you do in your spare time. We know that when students love something, they do their best at it, and are good at it.”

Sunshine Coast Grammar multimedia room

Regardless of the type of art they choose, Dr Corcoran says it is most important for students to learn lifelong lessons.

“Art is all about having the courage to make mistakes and learn from them,” she says. “We tell our kids, ‘You have to be open to making mistakes.’ Einstein once said, ‘If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn,’ so we try to provide a safe environment to make mistakes and to experiment with new things. Our teachers are all about encouraging students to have the courage to do this. And those that do, fly.”

Sunshine Coast grammar school art

By Josephine Agostino 


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Written by Angela Sutherland

After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music.

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