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BNG Kids

BNG Summer Camp

Register now

Registration is now open for the Bermuda National Gallery 2020 Art + Tech Summer Camp. Join new education officer Louisa Bermingham for a summer of fun exploring a variety of art mediums and materials.

Students will develop new creative skills from traditional techniques such as drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and textiles to utilizing technology to create stop motion animation and digital drawing

The camp will be held in the Bermuda National Gallery, which will be closed to the public during the week, immersing the students in the exhibitions which will serve as the starting point for their projects.

The camp is open to children aged 11 to 14 years. The cost is $200 per week for BNG family members/ $250 per week for non members. Become a member today to advantage of the lower price. Bursaries are available for eligible students, please email education@bng.bm for eligibility.

The camp runs from the 13th July to the 28th August. Booking is limited to one week per student. Click HERE to register!

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BNG Kids

New Education Officer

Louisa Bermingham

As the school year draws to a close, we are thrilled to welcome Louisa Bermingham onboard as the Bermuda National Gallery Education Officer. The artist, who trained in textile design before doing a Masters of Art in education, currently teaches art at Paget Primary and sits on the Education Ministry’s Art Curriculum Revising Committee.

Louisa will split her time between the public school system and the gallery, creating opportunities for the BNG to continue to expand its support for art education in Bermuda’s schools whilst leading new approaches in the field.

Louisa Bermingham joins the BNG as Education Officer.

She has an extensive history with the Bermuda National Gallery; both as an artist and educator, having served as Education Director from 1999 to 2002, during which time she started the gallery’s education outreach from scratch.

Her first point of call for 2020 will be the summer camp programme, in which she will lead students through the exploration of a variety of art mediums and materials, from drawing, sculpture, printmaking and textiles to integrating technology in the form of stop motion animation and digital drawing. 

We caught up with Louisa to discuss her vision for the Bermuda National Gallery education programme and how she plans to cement the BNG as the premier resource for art education at all levels of learning.

Detail from 2018 Bermuda Biennial artwork What We Share by Louisa Bermingham, 2018. Mixed media. Size variable.

BNG: You have a long standing relationship with the gallery as an artist. Some of your early work resides in the gallery’s permanent collection. Could you please talk us through your practice?

LB: My artistic practice over the years has progressed from large scale charcoal drawings, to very small scale mixed media and currently painting and ceramics. Each stage has been a reflection of my interests at the time, starting from a fascination with elements from folklore to my mixed media works She was a Hairy Bear, She was Scary Bear which reflect personal observations about life and my role as a woman in it.

My Hairy Bear work has just been published as a little book, which is carried at the Bermuda Book Store. Currently, I am working on what I call my happy paintings, which are simple explorations of composition using floral still life and interiors as subject matter. Concurrently with the paintings I’ve been experimenting with ceramics expressing an alternate sculptural dimension for my Hairy Bear series amongst other things. 

2010 Bermuda Biennial artwork Untitled (Hairy Bear as Frida) by Louisa Bermingham. Hair, acrylic, fabric, ink. 6 x 4 in.

BNG: You have exhibited numerous times in the Bermuda Biennial as well as the group show Re-Interpreting The European Collection in 2011. How has your relationship with the BNG influenced your trajectory as an artist?

LB: I have found the Bermuda National Gallery provides the incentive to reach for as an artist, from the opportunities provided by applying for the Biennial to the public lectures, discussions and forums to come together to learn and express opinions.

Being included in the Biennials and having work included in the permanent collection has given me the artistic boost and confidence to continue my work. In the same way, being rejected from the Biennial has given me the same boost if that makes sense. It’s made me introspective and critical of my work that has allowed me to grow as an artist. I appreciate both.  

2010 Bermuda Biennial artwork She Felt The Eyes Of Others by Louisa Bermingham, 2019. Ink, gouache, water soluble graphite, hair. 6 x 4 in.

BNG: You have over 20 years teaching experience, having taught across the island in both public and private schools as well as the college. How has this shaped your approach as a teacher?

LB: I started teaching at Dellwood middle school in 1997 and have taught the entire range of ages from preschool to adult learners in a broad spectrum of institutions. Having such a broad teaching experiences provides me with a high level of confidence and comfort in my ability. What truly stands out is how my teaching and interacting with students of all ages informs my art work and my art process. It may be something small – perhaps the way a child interprets the meaning of an art image – that is completly new to me but deeply engaging and alternative. 

Detail from 2018 Bermuda Biennial artwork What We Share by Louisa Bermingham, 2018. Mixed media. Size variable.

BNG: Why is art so key for children?

LB: Art is integral to child development. It allows for self expression and breeds confidence. The tools, equipment and materials of art making greatly enhance motor development. It also provides an outlet for critical thinking, self reflection and team work all of which heighten learning across the entire school curriculum. Art provides communication tools and analytical thinking skills. Art ensures an avenue for explorations in accountability and how to deal with and learn from mistakes. 


Join Louisa at the Bermuda National Gallery 2020 Art + Tech Camp for a summer of fun exploring a variety of art mediums and materials. The camp will be held in the gallery, which will be closed to the public during the week, immersing the students in the 2020 Bermuda Biennial which will serve as the starting point for their projects.

The camp is aimed at students aged 11 to 14 years. Cost: $200 per week for BNG family members/ $250 for non members. Bursaries are available for public school students, please email education@bng.bm to enquire.

The camp runs from the 13th July through to the 28th August. Booking is limited to one week per student. Hours are 9am – 3pm Monday to Friday at the Bermuda National Gallery, City Hall & Arts Center, Hamilton.

Click HERE to register!

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BNG Kids

Children’s Art Initiatives

Draw with your favourite authors

Whilst we all adjust to the new normal, the pandemic is proving particularly challenging for children who are isolated at home and missing both their friends and the routine of school. Two of the most celebrated children’s authors have come to the rescue with initiatives to provide a little light relief from the daily cycle of digital learning, which allow young minds to immerse themselves in the vivid worlds of their own imaginations.

J.K. Rowling recently released The Ickabog, a story she wrote many years ago for her own children and which she read to them every evening before bed, yet which remained unpublished until now.

The story is being published free online, with new chapters released every day. Not only can children enjoy a rare new story from the Harry Potter author, but they also have the chance to illustrate it. Rowling is running an illustration competition for children aged 7 to 12, asking them to submit drawings inspired by the story.

The author will be giving suggestions of what to draw as the story unfolds. Selected illustrations will be included in the hard copy of the book, to be published in November, and royalties will be donated to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Above and top: doodles by Mo Willems courtesy of @mo.willems.studio

Those with young children will be familiar with the books by the New York Times best selling author and illustrator Mo Willems, whose playful series Don’t Let The Pigeon… is loved by many.

To give children a break in their home school routines, Willems has been broadcasting the Lunch Doodles series live from his home studio every lunchtime, in which he teaches children the art of illustration.

The programme, which recently concluded, ran every day for three weeks in association with the Kennedy Centre. All 15 episodes (and the free to download activities that accompany them) are now available on the museum’s website. Willems has even collaborated with celebrated cellist Yo Yo Ma to create the Yo Yo Mo Show!, a bespoke playlist for little ears to listen to as they doodle.

Doodle by Mo Willems courtesy of @mo.willems.studio

If you are looking for further art related exercises for children, we have produced BNG Kids activity booklets for each of our current exhibitions which can be downloaded free: 2020 Bermuda Biennial, What’s Poppin’ Pop Art And Its Influence, Land & Sea: Fragile Treasures. Children can also tour the exhibitions virtually.

You can also download a scavenger hunt for the Par-La-Ville Sculpture Park in Hamilton.

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BNG Kids

The Gratitude Wheel

A Mindful Art Activity

Carolyn Toogood is a visual arts teacher at Somersfield Academy, where she also runs the Mindful Art Club, an after school programme which encourages primary school students to use art making as way of connecting with their emotions and immersing themselves fully in the present moment.

As we navigate these unprecedented times, Carolyn is sharing a series of mindful art activities with the BNG to help children navigate an uncertain future.

“One of my favourite mindful art practices for children is a gratitude wheel” says Carolyn. “To start, simply draw or trace a circle in the center of a paper and write, “I am grateful for…

Pause here and take a few moments to speak with your child about what they’re grateful for before writing anything down. When they’re ready, they can begin to write (or draw) their choices, with purpose, extending out from the inner circle.

As an art teacher, I often sneak in lessons on the colour wheel, pattern and line at this point. Children will enjoy experimenting with different colours, lines and patterns as if they are rays of sun emanating out from a central circle. I encourage using lots of colour, even painting a watercolour background first, if you have time and the correct paper.

It’s best to work on a wheel over an extended period of time so that a daily gratitude practice can be cultivated. Practicing gratitude might be a new idea for many children but it will help fortify their emotional resilience and is a tested antidote to anxiety. Gratitude is a wonderful way for children to counterbalance the stress of uncertain times by focusing on the positive aspects of their lives.”

Artwork by Somersfield Academy student Hazel Dragan (Primary 6)

Follow Carolyn and the Mindful Art Club at @somersfieldartists

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BNG Kids

Youth Arts Council

Inspiring teens

We have launched a dynamic digital programme for the Bermuda National Gallery Youth Arts Council in association with artist and educator Sarai Hines.

The free programme, which is aimed at students aged 13-17, provides opportunities for creative and independent thinking by engaging with the arts and culture of today.

We sat down with Sarai to discuss her vision for the programme and how the BNG Youth Arts Council can meet the needs of teens today. 

BNG: You graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts with a minor in Child Development from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston. Did you always want to be an art teacher?

SH: I always knew I that I wanted art to be a part of my life. I didn’t consider being an art teacher until high school. After going on the Spirit of Bermuda at school, I had the pleasure of working closely with Adam Goodwin. The amount of knowledge that he instilled in me in such a short period of time was incredibly inspiring. Unfortunately, he passed away right after our voyage, but his funeral that allowed me to see the true impact that he left on young people and this is when I started to think about being a teacher.

BNG: What role did art and art making play for you when you were growing up?

SH: Art was my voice and my thoughts. After skipping a year at primary school I faced many challenges, mostly bullying, which brought on mixed emotions growing up. Learning art skills grounded me as it required a deep amount of focus to always try and get it right. Later on, I was able to apply those techniques to create imagery that meant something to me and from there it became my form of self-expression.

BNG: As a practicing artist, you have exhibited across the island. How does this affect your approach to teaching?

SH: After both organising and exhibiting in art shows, I’ve grown to understand all of the work that goes into producing an exhibition. The skills that it brings – self confidence, organization, and public speaking to name a few – are things that I like to help to build in each art student that enters my classroom.

BNG: As an educator, you focus on mindfulness and team building. How does art allow you do this?

SH: I am interested in how I can help to grow the whole child and so I plan projects that asks students to use a piece of themselves. Team building allows for the students to feel a sense of comfort and belonging which leads to them being more open in class. It creates an atmosphere of respect. Mindfulness builds on that feeling by allowing students to begin to understand themselves and their experiences. It creates a pause in their day to reflect and put the focus on them.

BNG: You’ve taught both primary and middle school. In what ways have you seen art benefit children at different stages of their development?

SH: Art brings out a form of excitement in youth. In primary school I noticed that art was a form of emotion to the students, it allowed them to express how they were feeling regardless of whether it was a positive or negative emotion. This allowed me to truly get to know my students in terms of their life experiences. In middle school students show a love for the skill in art as they take pride in what they have been able to accomplish. It brings out amazing self-confidence in students which allows me to challenge them to higher expectations because they are eager to learn!

BNG: This is your first time leading the Youth Arts Council. How have you structured the programme and why?

SH: The BNG Youth Arts Council allows me teach a programme that will develop a range of skills to encourage Bermuda’s next generation of creative talent. I have structured the programme to build various skills that will help each student to grow: self-expression, creativity, leadership, public speaking and self-confidence. Through art students will learn to think and do, combined with understanding who they are or who they want to be. I have created a structure that scaffolds a student’s way of thinking but also challenges them to go outside of their comfort zone.

BNG: What do you hope to leave students with when they graduate from the course?

SH: The hope is that the Youth Arts Council allows students to see art in a different way from the traditional school setting and to learn other skills that focus on growing them into who they wish to be as an artist. I hope that students leave with a new perspective on what art means to them. Their growth in their new understanding of both themselves and art will hopefully encourage them to understand that art is life and that their life can be their art.

Registration for the BNG Youth Arts Council is free. For further information please contact education@bng.bm.

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BNG Kids

Rainbow Bright

Art for the NHS

Homemade rainbows have been popping up in windows across the globe over the past few weeks as children the world over display them as a sign of hope as they shelter in place.

Now some of Britain’s best loved artists have adopted the symbol, creating their own rainbows to show their support for the National Health Service which is struggling under the pressures of the pandemic.

Damien Hirst has created a limited edition rainbow made up of butterflies, one his signature motifs, which will be auctioned to raise funds for the NHS. The artist has also a created a poster of the print which you can download for free from his website

Butterfly Rainbow by Damien Hirst, 2020.

Quentin Blake, beloved by children young and old for his illustrations in the Roald Dahl books, has produced a series of free e-cards featuring rainbows for people to send to loved ones whilst they self-isolate. 

A selection of 10 original designs can be sent for free via his website. The illustrations are currently on display online at the House of Illustration, of which the artist is a founding trustee. The originals will be auctioned to raise funds for the NHS. 

Rainbow 4 by Quentin Blake, 2020.

Make your own rainbow to thank those working on Bermuda’s frontlines and post it in your window! Tag us on instagram and we will post a selection in our weekly newsletters!

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BNG Kids

Awareness Through Art

Art Making as Meditation

Carolyn Toogood is a visual arts teacher at Somersfield Academy, where she also runs the Mindful Art Club, an after school programme which encourages primary school students to use art making as way of connecting with their emotions and immersing themselves fully in the present moment.

Carolyn, who received a Masters in Art Education from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, will be sharing a series of children’s mindful art activities as we adjust to life amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

We sat down with her to talk about the ways in which children can use art making as a form of meditation and why we all need a mindfulness practice as we navigate these unprecedented times.

Carolyn helps a student with a Palms for Peace mural to celebrate the International Day of Peace.

BNG: How did you first get interested in mindfulness?

CT: A few years ago, Kim Rego of Mindful Bermuda visited Somersfield and encouraged our staff to complete a mindfulness training course for educators. This course was life-changing for me; not only as far as shifting how I approached classroom management but also how I managed my own stress and relationships. Since then, I have built mindfulness into my daily teaching practice.

BNG: We are living through unprecedented times which can be extremely stressful, especially for children who may not fully understand the situation. How can we use art making as a way for them to both take a step back and take stock of the situation?

CT: The connections between creating art and stress relief are vast, particularly with young children. So much of being an artist is connecting with what’s around you and expressing what you are feeling inside. When you engage in this sort of awareness, you are being present and living in the moment. This is incredibly stress-relieving during a time of crisis.

In my Mindful Art Club we try to connect with nature, by noticing what is happening around us and identifying what we are feeling inside. Children can develop their observation skills by drawing what’s around them and immersing themselves in their surroundings. I also have students use texture rubbing plates to connect visual patterns with their different feelings. This exercise opens up a conversation about the range of emotions they experience and asks students to figure out how to visually describe them through pattern. Just by learning to talk about feelings (and notice and identify them), a child can begin to experience a state of awareness and mindfulness.

Students create paintings based on shapes and colours that reflect their mood.

BNG: What are the connections between art making and mindfulness?

CT: Art making and mindfulness are inextricably linked. In the classroom (something I am missing these days), I have two ‘modes’: busy and quiet. Sometimes, in the classroom it’s beneficial for there to be a buzz of ongoing chatter, especially during brainstorming periods when the children are generating ideas about what to create. However, there also comes a time when students need to turn inward. I often ask the students to notice the micro-sensations of how a paintbrush feels gliding along a paper or the subtle differences between the application of a crayon versus an oil pastel. Beginning to become aware of these minute shifts and differences is the beginning of becoming mindful. When students create art in this enhanced state of awareness, their art making becomes a flow that is very satisfying and calming to them.

BNG: How is art making good for our mental health?

CT: Carving out time for creative pursuits is important, not only as a way to be expressive but also as a way to get into a ‘flow’ or a mindful, zen-like state. This sort of ‘cleansing of the mind’ is incredibly therapeutic for the nervous system. I enjoy making pottery in my spare time and, for me, I know that when I work on my pottery wheel there is a meditative repetition that induces a sense of calm and peace.

Students show off their colour paintings which are based on colour psychology research.

BNG: Many parents have suddenly found themselves home schooling their children for the foreseeable future. Do you have any tips for them?

CT: First and foremost, this is 100% crisis schooling not home schooling. We are in unprecedented times, like you said. I think families need to keep their child’s schooling in perspective and do what’s best for their child and their family as a whole. Everyone’s situation is vastly different with varying degrees of access to technology, educational support needed and parents working from home. Every day, families should take stock of what is working for them and what is adding unnecessary stress during this difficult time.

BNG: How can families use art to relieve stress?

CT: I do think, if possible, having a designated art space in the home, whatever that might look like, would allow a child to feel like there is a peaceful space to create when stress seems high or the child feels frustrated. Drawing for children is incredibly therapeutic and allows them to express their daily experiences more clearly.

Somersfield Students work on the BNG Point House Mural Competition.

BNG: What are some mindful art activities that children can do at home?

CT: A good starter exercise is to paint to music. You can introduce the child to various types of music and ask them to choose colours and lines that they feel evoke the song chosen. They can overlap the different ‘songs’ on one piece paper or paint on separate pieces of paper to create a collection of different visual emotions. 

Follow Carolyn and the Mindful Art Club at @somersfieldartists