Arts minister painted in a new light by talented school pupils
Arts Minister Heather Humphreys became an artist's model for almost 120 motionless minutes at a Dublin school.
She sat under the gaze of a nine-foot giraffe named Gilbert and 20 of the best schoolgirl artists at Coláiste Bríde secondary school in Clondalkin yesterday.
Tall Gilbert was the result of one of the many art projects which make the school one of the most artistically creative educational establishments in the country.
Ms Humphreys accepted an invitation from one of the school's art teachers, Niamh Comiskey (31), to pose for her pupils.
"I did a bit of pottery in school. I liked doodling more so than making any works of art," Ms Humphreys said.
She said she was not nervous about seeing how the pupils portrayed her.
"I can take whatever the interpretation is. That's what art is about," she added.
"It's about thinking from different angles and that is what I want to see because it encourages creativity.
"The Arts Council ESRI report clearly states that getting involved and engaging in the arts at an early age improves their school experience, improves their academic performance, and helps creativity," she said.
Ms Comiskey and her fellow art teachers Aisling Burns and Rob Barry, and principal Marie-Therese Kilmartin, gave the minister a warm welcome.
The three art teachers said they hoped Ms Humphreys would urge her colleagues in the Department of Education to immediately reform and update the art curriculum in secondary schools.
No significant change has happened since 1972, despite huge changes in the artistic world, including the use of digital technology.
Art curriculum developments had been formulated in 2005 but have still not be implemented, they said.
Pupil Kamila Di Stefano (14) said: "The minister has really nice features to sketch. I find art really relaxes me."