Last Update 04/05/10

HJ NEWS 2009


SHOUT 2008/9

Rings Around the World

The Henley Festival's spectacular supersize art project for schools, 'Rings Around the World', has been officially recognised by London 2012 through its Inspire programme - in recognition of its outstanding quality and innovative links to the London 2012 Games.

Funded by the Henley Festival's charitable arm, the Henley Festival Trust, 10 Henley area schools have been working with the SHOUT team since September looking at cultural influences across the continents of the world through large-scale art, music and dance. Henley Festival's ‘Rings Around the World' project has created ten murals on huge canvases 20'x6', one in each of ten participating local schools, under the guidance of mural specialists Hugh Jart. The theme of the project is based on the 5 continents symbolised by the Olympic ‘linked rings' logo: Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.

"It is a genuine feather in the Henley Festival's cap to have been recognised by London 2012. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games is, quite rightly, incredibly selective about who they award this accreditation to and they have made it clear that they regard Henley Festival's project as exemplary and truly worthy of the award."

Stewart Collins, Artistic Director



HJ NEWS 14/04/2009

Festival’s art project runs

rings round the rest

 14 04 2009

A SCHOOL art project run by Henley Festival has received an award from the London 2012 Olympic organising committee.

Rings Around The World was praised by the committee’s Inspire programme for its “outstanding quality and innovative links” to the Games.

The project created murals on large canvases in each of 10 local schools, under the guidance of artists Charlie Charles and Julian Walker of mural specialists Hugh Jart.

The theme of the project was the five continents symbolised by the Olympic logo — Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.

Rings Around The World is this year’s SHOUT! outreach programme for schools, run and funded by the Henley Festival’s charitable arm, the Henley Festival Trust.

The project extends beyond murals. Community dance specialists The Dance Movement, musical animater Andy Baker and percussionist Joby Burgess will be working with the schools to create performance pieces on their international themes. The final pieces will be performed in front of the 10 murals during festival week in July.

Stewart Collins, Henley Festival’s artistic director, said: “It is a genuine feather in the Henley Festival’s cap to have been recognised by London 2012. The committee is, quite rightly, incredibly selective about who it awards this accreditation to.”


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HJ NEWS 12/07/2009


HENLEY FESTIVAL'S "SHOUT" (Schools in Henley OUTreach) PROJECT - 10 huge canvas paintings displayed along the bank of the River Thames at Henley Festival July 2009

See the movie "If The Kids Are United" here:-





HJ NEWS 20/07/2009

Pupils Olympic-themed murals are lit up

 20 07 2009

CHILDREN from 10 schools in the Henley area decorated the festival site with spectacular murals based on the five Olympic rings.

The works were displayed in the royal regatta boat tent area and lit up at night.

The theme of the Rings Around The World project was the five continents symbolised by the Olympic logo — Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.

On Thursday, pupils from Peppard Primary School and Sacret Heart primary in Henley presented their murals to Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin and Caterina Loriggio, of the London 2012 organising team.

The other schools involved were Badgemore and Trinity primaries in Henley, Shiplake and Crazies Hill primaries, Robert Piggott junior in Wargrave, Valley Road junior in Henley, Gillotts School in Henley and Langtree School, Woodcote.

Charlie Charles and Julian walker, from mural specialists Hugh Jart, ran workshops at the schools in September before pupils made the 20ft x 6ft pieces.

Festival artistic director Stewart Collins said: “All the murals are absolutely fantastic and I am extremely proud of every young person who took part.”

The project received an award from the London 2012 Olympic organising committee for its “outstanding quality and innovative links” to the Games.


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HJ NEWS 2007


HJ NEWS 14/07/2007

Outdoor art

makes a splash

Published Date: 14 July 2007
By Roger Ratcliffe

With Britain's outdoor festival season about to start, Roger Ratcliffe reports on a Yorkshire arts group that has become a permanent fixture on the circuit.

From Glastonbury to the Cambridge and "V" festivals, as well as smaller but no less popular summer events along the way, they are finalising the lists of attractions.

One name keeps cropping up on the fliers, programmes and posters, which at first glance sounds like just another solo performer with an off-beat and – in all likelihood – made-up surname.


Never come across anyone called Jart before.

Who is this Hugh Jart, then?

The answer will be instantly known to veterans of the Glastonbury mud, as well as thousands of others who have attended festivals the length and breadth of the country for the past decade. Hugh Jart stands for "Huge Art", a community art group that rolls out on tour each summer with gigantic canvases and free pots of paint.

Based in Baildon, Hugh Jart is now getting ready to take its mobile murals on the road again for the 13th successive year, with the same simple belief that if you give even the most ham-fisted person a paint brush they can discover a hitherto unknown artistic eye.

Often people can paint whatever they like. It can be freeform squiggles or Jackson Pollock-like splashes. It can even be something that's half-recognisable, usually to a pre-determined theme like self-portraits, animals, flowers, hearts and lips. Or they can vent their feelings with colourful graffiti, or each fill in a piece of a vast vertical jigsaw.

"We do try come up with a novel idea each time," says Hugh Jart's founder and administrator, Charlie Charles. "For example, we got kids to paint each other's face, and then we filled in the background. Another idea might be that we divide up a canvas into a floral pattern, and everyone is invited to come and fill in a petal or a flower.

"What really makes the difference is that people paint with other people. This is a communal activity, a shared experience. Painting can be such a solitary thing, even lonely. Hugh Jart is all about bringing people together."

Which is probably one of the reasons why it's so popular with outdoor festival-goers, who are almost by definition a gregarious lot.

Hugh Jart was born at the Forest Fayre, Forest of Dean, in 1994, the moment of conception being when Charlie found that his son and a few other children had been invited to paint on the side of an old ambulance.

"They were really in their element, and an idea was created. I thought it'd be a really exciting project to bring together not only children but also adults to produce larger-than-life collaborative works
of art."

The first mural they did was at Ilkley Carnival the following year and was, by later standards, quite small – an 18ft by 8ft canvas donated by a local stage set production company. Although many canvases are still about the same length, with a height roughly related to the distance that the tallest human being can reach, others might be 40ft long and be so high that participants require ladders and scaffolding.

Central to the concept of Hugh Jart is that people with artistic backgrounds volunteer to assist those who haven't held a paint brush since schooldays. In addition to a hard-core of helpers, art students phone up to ask if they can get involved and, for their troubles, sometimes get free festival tickets – the Glastonbury ones being worth several times more than their weight in gold.

Since participation in painting murals is free, Hugh Jart get their income from fees paid by the festival organisers – they have become a "name" attraction in their own right.

They have completed an average of 15 huge canvases a year all over the country, spreading out to festivals run by local councils – places like Portsmouth, Islington, Gloucester, Nottingham, Salisbury, Blackpool, Leeds and Barnsley.

At Bradford City's football ground, there is also a 20ft x 6ft mural entitled "Goal!" featuring 57 cheering children with their teachers and someone who looks suspiciously like David Beckham, painted by two classes of children drawn from different faiths and cultures.

Wishing to expand the concept beyond gigantic murals, they soon started producing massive 3D creations on which people could paint. One of the earliest was the Hugh Jart Maze at Glastonbury in 1997, when they constructed a network of passages using 600 8ft x 4ft boards, all painted with an environmental theme. Unfortunately, they got only half of it up before an overnight storm blew it down.

For the V98 and V99 Festivals, Charlie oversaw the creation of a weird farmyard – larger than life, of course – featuring a mad cow, a cloned sheep with a "baaaa code", and what they described as a "p***ed off pig".

One of Hugh Jart's most memorable 3D constructions at Glastonbury was the word "LOVE", constructed from maze boards and standing 16ft high, on which festival-goers were invited to provide the artwork. Unfortunately, some of the more exuberant participants climbed to the top, and it was deemed a hazard.

From an enterprise with roots in the mud of alternative music festivals, an unexpected twist to the Hugh Jart story is that they're now hired by multi-national companies for promotional events. Microsoft whisked them off to the French Riviera. They were flown out to the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix to construct two huge murals with spectators and even racing drivers. Other bookings have come from Nokia, Virgin and Land-Rover.

At the beginning of July, the National Railway Museum, York will be unveiling a different work of art, made by Hugh Jart – a 22ft long futuristic train which they have designed with 40 year-six school children. The train will be on display for one year.

Back on the festival circuit, Charlie Charles admits that sometimes the quality of painting is not wonderful and some participants have had a couple of beers too many.

"But we've also produced some fantastic stuff and people love it. At many festivals people stand in our queues for hours to get their hands on the paints. We're enabling thousands of people to be artistic who wouldn't otherwise get the chance."

Hugh Jart will be taking its huge canvas painting screens and other artwork to the following events this spring and summer: July 26-29, Cambridge Folk Festival; September 7-9, Bestival, Isle of Wight. Website: www.hughjart.co.uk


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HJ NEWS 2010



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HJ NEWS 1996


HJ NEWS 1996


On a mission to bring out the artist in everyone!

The summer of 1995 saw the emergence of Hugh Jarts Mobile Murals on the festival circuit. Their massive painting screens became a common, colourful sight, bringing a new experience to many thousands of festival goers.

For those not acquainted with Hugh Jarts, they provide a 400 foot square canvas (on an easel), as well as the materials and enthusiasm to persuade festival goers to come and paint. It’s free and the painters are encouraged to do pretty much whatever they like. The end result being a detailed portrait of that particular event, with both Hugh Jarts and the contributors rightly proud of their efforts.

The people behind Hugh Jarts come from a largely travelling background. With the demise of the free festivals, Hugh Jarts members Samantha, Charlie and Pete, began looking for a feasible way of 'blagging' it onto the festival sites (jumping fences etc becomes difficult with youngsters!). Like many travellers braving out Britain energy was focused on putting together a successful blag. They seem to have hit on a good 'un.

So where did the idea come from? Samantha of Hugh Jarts is credited with having come up with the idea, she explains how it came about.
It was at the Harvest Fayre at the end of summer 1994. An ambulance next to us was opened to the kids for painting on, it kept them amused for hours. Whilst enjoying the break we saw the potential for the idea.
That initial idea was the first piece in the jigsaw. That winter other parts came together. A skip out the back of a stage design company was getting regularly filled with useful wood, a playground supplier provided the paint and a small youth group in Bradford gave us the chance to try out the idea. It wasn't until the early summer that we were ready to approach the festivals' continues Charlie.

The first festival that Hugh Jarts tried was the biggest - Glastonbury. They eventually made the trip down from Bradford, despite vehicle problems (surprisingly ????). Behind schedule, the screen went up over night and the first of the Hugh Jarts distinctive backdrops was painted on the canvas.

Once up and running the response was terrific, with the screen rapidly becoming a running commentary on the events of the festival. Within a few days the canvas was transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour, images, messages and ideas. All those groups that make up the 'one love' collective (and a few that don't) were well represented. From Frontline to football fans it was a cumulative effort that everyone who was involved can be proud of. Seeing the screen progress was one of the most satisfying pieces of visual entertainment, I'm still finding new pictures on it seven months after completion' says Pete.

Building on the success and enthusiasm generated at Glastonbury Hugh Jarts went onto do a V.W. Bash, Phoenix, The Festival of Fun and the Big Green Gathering as well as an interesting youth club project in Somerset, where locals investigated Agenda 21. From the initial idea to put a reasonable blag together Hugh Jarts have grown to realise the validity of their idea. They've identified a need at commercial events to give people something to do as opposed to merely watching, listening and spending.

They aim to make festival goers 'creators of the spectacular rather than spectators of the creative'. The enthusiasm from right across the spectrum have shown how effective the simple idea of a communal painting screen can be in allowing people to discuss and share experiences in a way that demands little, discriminates against no one and above all else is thoroughly enjoyable. For Hugh Jarts members it has been an education, whilst providing everyone involved with an excellent summer and a large amount of enthusiasm to continue developing ideas. 'Wiggy' Pete


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HJ NEWS 1995


HJ NEWS 31.08.95



Charlie Charles with one of the group's murals

BAILDON: Mammoth murals help to capture the spirit of festival life

An alternative arts group is putting its energies into being creative on a massive scale.

Baildon based Hugh Jart's is a non profit making alternative arts group which specialises in capturing festivals and outdoor events on mammoth murals.

Founder member Charlie Charles said the aim of the group was to encourage artists and non-artists alike to contribute to creating an image on a 400 foot canvas.

Members of the group, which is based at Robert's Yard, on Otley Road, Baildon, paint a background on the canvas and then invite revellers to add to the picture.

So far the group has been creating a portrait of summer festivals with murals created at the Glastonbury and Phoenix rock events, a Beetle Bash, Festival of Fun and the Big Green Gathering.

"These events are all distinct happenings with an ambience of their own and the 3,500 artists who contributed to the murals have reflected the differing people and atmospheres at every event." said Charlie.

Hugh Jart's is gearing itself towards making a bigger impact around the country next year and is looking for help with funding and materials.


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