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Inside Art: creative responses to the collection by young offenders

Issued: March 2012

Learning Gallery
27 February – 20 May 2012
Admission Free

Striking clay self-portrait heads and brightly coloured still lifes form part of the National Gallery’s 2012 'Inside Art' display. Inspired by a diverse range of paintings in the collection, the artworks have been created by young men at HMYOI Feltham who took part in the Gallery’s outreach programme Inside Art.

The display includes highly individual, colourful paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings inspired by National Gallery paintings by Holbein, Hogarth, Raphael, Rembrandt, Sassoferrato, Titian, Treck, Seurat, Van Eyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The programme workshops explored themes of portraiture, abstraction, drawing and still life. Groups used some sessions to create vibrant works that reflect their lives through the depiction of treasured objects and experiences.

The display also tells the story behind the workshops and includes participants’ responses to their experience. The comments reveal the benefits they gained from the experience – through the development of their knowledge and skills, and through using their imagination to gain a better understanding of themselves and other people.

The participants’ comments include:

"I got confident from doing art I wouldn’t normally be able to do."

"Being able to put my imagination in action and learning tips for the future."

National Gallery Director of Education, Information and Outreach, Jillian Barker, said:

“Our aim through the Gallery’s outreach programmes is to make the collection accessible to those who cannot visit the Gallery independently. The Inside Art project seeks to inspire young offenders through paintings in the collection. It aims to provide new and sometimes unexpected opportunities for them to express themselves and to use their imagination, and at the same time build their confidence and develop practical and communications skills that leave them with a sense of achievement.”

The 2011 programme consisted of four week-long projects at Feltham’s Art Academy delivered by freelance artists who work for the National Gallery. In 2011, 37 young men took part. They were aged between 15 and 21 and had either been sentenced or were on remand and awaiting trial.

The Inside Art programme has been developed by National Gallery Education in partnership with HMYOI Feltham with the aim of inspiring young offenders. Initiated in 2009, the programme provides an opportunity for the participants to explore their creativity and develop personal skills which can help to reduce the risk of reoffending. The National Gallery is the first organisation to deliver a visual arts programme at Feltham’s Art Academy, a facility that provides creative and performing arts courses designed to develop skills in preparation for release.

The Koestler Trust, a prison and arts charity that awards, exhibits and sells artworks made by offenders, has also recently recognised the success of Inside Art. This year Inside Art participants received 14 Koestler Bronze Awards from the Koestler Trust for artworks they made during the National Gallery projects at Feltham in 2011.

The Inside Art programme has been funded by The Lankelly Chase Foundation for three years, from 2009 to 2011. During this period the National Gallery ran four projects per year at HMYOI Feltham.

For further press information please contact Lizzie Phillips at / 020 7747 2532

Publicity images can be obtained from To obtain a username please contact the National Gallery Press Office on 020 7747 2865 or e-mail

Additional information

Dates and opening hours
Open to public 27 February – 20 May 2012
Open daily 10am–6pm, Friday until 9pm
Last admission 5.15pm (8.15pm Friday)


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