Carry Franklin celebrated in inaugural arts show

Parents and students paid tribute to “amazing” former teacher Carry Franklin as Clapgate Primary School held its first end-of-year arts show in her memory.

Ms Franklin, who taught art and drama at the Middleton school for over ten years and founded the Leeds Little Free Libraries, passed away on 4 June 2019.

The event showcased the best artwork from across the year and all year groups from nursery to Year 6, with paintings, drawings, textiles and sculptures inspired by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore on display.

Parents and children thronged the school’s hall as they took part in hands-on activities including the chance to draw a Zentangle and create pictures using leaves, branches and pinecones.

Well-wishers were able to leave messages in a book next to a slideshow of pictures of the late teacher.

Ms Franklin’s partner Dave Bache said:

“It’s a testament to Carry and colleague Kirsty [Webster] and the work they’ve done to ensure that the arts are at the centre of the school.

“It’s been a real privilege to come here and see the children and parents valuing all the work that’s on the walls and the ongoing work the school’s doing. It’s a real joy to be here.

“Carry would be really moved by the fact that you can see right the way from nursery to Year 6 the development of their art.”

Art teacher Kirsty Webster added:

“She [Ms Franklin] was the life and soul of Clapgate. She was an amazing, vibrant soul, really bubbly, full of energy and just wanted the best for the children and worked really hard to get that. She would light up a corridor when she walked down it.

“There’s a nice combination of drawing, painting, textiles, sculpture – it’s all come together really well. It’s the first time we’ve done it and I think she would be absolutely blown away.”

Clapgate Primary School is aiming to achieve Arts Council England’s Artsmark award, an endeavour set up by the late Ms Franklin, which assists participating schools with developing their arts programme. She also helped to establish the school’s eight-strong arts council.

“We have a creative process at this school; it’s a big part of our school ethos and life,” Ms Webster added. “We nurture it and encourage children to be as creative as they can through art, drama, music, dance: everything.

“We’re very lucky in that we have an art room in a primary school – there are probably four or five primary schools in Leeds that have art rooms.

“The kids loving coming to the art room, getting their hands dirty, getting messy, trying new things. It’s just a great facility to have.

“Not all children are academic. There are a lot of children who are very creative and need to have that space to channel that creativity, and we’ve got it here fortunately.”

Parent Zoe Hardwick, who has two children at Clapgate, added she was “very impressed” by the event. “It got me more excited than them!” she said.