Leyton schoolchildren visit artwork they inspired at the Lee Valley Ice Centre construction site
Hovering ice machines, new habitats, spikey insects, speed skating and ice dancing– just some of the ideas children from local schools suggested for hoarding artwork at the Lee Valley Ice Centre construction site.
Over 120 school children visited the Lee Valley Ice Centre construction site on Lea Bridge Road, Leyton to see their drawings brought to life in a huge artwork created by east London artist Alice Druitt on hoardings around the site.
The community artwork was designed during classroom workshops last term at St Joseph’s Catholic Junior and Sybourn Primary, where Alice encouraged pupils to draw what the new centre meant to them. The art, which celebrates the new venue and a range of environmental improvements accompanying the construction, was unveiled in August to mark the start of works at an event attended by Waltham Forest Leader Grace Williams.
During the school trip, Alice showed the children the final artwork and their contributions explaining how she’d created the piece.
Sarah, a pupil at St Joseph’s Catholic Junior, said: “The artwork at the Lee Valley Ice Centre makes me really happy. I can’t wait to show my Mum and Dad!”
Harriet Bennett, Assistant Head at Sybourn Primary School, said: “We see our school community as extending beyond the school building, so we were delighted to be asked to be involved in such a positive project in our local area.”
The school children explored the area next to the construction site in an educational mini beast hunt run by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s Youth and Schools team and helped prepare a time capsule which will be buried in the new regional centre.
Jade Le, teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic Junior said: “The community project really captured our children’s interest. Our children loved getting involved, imagining what the new ice centre might be. They also loved learning about the local wildlife and helping with the time capsule preparations. Thank you for letting us be a part of something very special at the end of a very different school year!”
Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, said: “We’re delighted that the children who contributed to the hoardings around the site have had a chance to see the finished artwork, create a time capsule for future generations and were able to see wildlife on Leyton Marsh. This new centre will be a major new community hub and we look forward to welcoming the children back when we open.”
The new £30m Lee Valley Ice Centre, funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, will include a café, gym, exercise studios and community spaces which will be open to everyone. It will be accompanied by landscape and ecology improvements including new wetland habitats. The venue will provide a place for people to socialise and relax and be a meeting point for visitors to the award winning nearby green space.