Making circular art with children: ‘Of course we hope for a buyer’

Elles shows Verhoef a roll of paper on which the first design for a work of art is created, each child participates in the drawing and embroiders on the other’s work. (Photo: Gerry van Bakel).

Create a work of art from start to finish in twelve weeks with ten other children. At the Mixclubs Foundation, they set the bar high. Founder Elles Verhoef likes to challenge children. The foundation has now received money from the municipality to make this art workshop completely circular. Under the motto: waste does not exist.

“We always start with introductory games,” says Verhoef. “Sometimes the children come from different primary schools or from different classes. It is important that children feel safe. Bullying behavior is absolutely not tolerated. I am quite strict.” Verhoef is not doing it alone. “The children must make art under the guidance of artists. And it’s about what occupies them. We want them to show themselves to the people of Leiden through the artwork.”

Reporter Gerry van Bakel in conversation with Elles Verhoef from the Mixclubs Foundation about making circular art with children.

The creative process starts with a large roll of paper on the table and a kind of musical chairs. Each child begins to draw about what interests him or her and what they might want to turn into a piece of art. Rotation takes place after one minute. The children now sit with an unfinished drawing of someone else in front of them and can add something to it. “In the end, we will look at which drawing we think is best,” says Verhoef. “That process continues until we all agree.”

Because each drawing is made up of elements from different children, there is always a concept building drawing for an artwork that is owned by the whole group. “It’s never one child’s drawing that gets chosen,” says Verhoef. Once the design is established, it’s time to start building the artwork. “We always make good works,” says Verhoef. No nonsense.

The material that will be used will come from the thrift store, and Verhoef can also use the work area in the Circular Store and all the equipment that is there. Ultimately, the art is exhibited in the public space. “It will be around Christmas, in the Rembrandt Park. The children will also think about how to attract as many visitors as possible. They are also already thinking about the auction, of course we hope that there will be a buyer for the art. Then it is really circular. If people are interested, they can come forward.”

In addition to the Mixclubs Foundation, five other initiatives for circular entrepreneurship received grants from the municipality of Leiden. The evaluation committee had a budget of 45,000 euros available for this round.

The lucky winners:

– Bubbleflush from B2 Cleaning, an innovative toilet cleaner that provides a safer and healthier way of working for employees;
– MAKR makes beautiful cabinets for schools, where valuable materials are collected, which normally end up in the trash;
– Digital platform Circufy, a collaboration between Noordman Hout, Van Diemen Sloop BV, DZB and OWN agency. Establishment of a regional network where suppliers and buyers of used construction materials are connected;
– Pronck Bierbrouwerij will return their used grain to Leiden cattle farmer Wilbert van der Post of the Elza Hoeve farm as powerful fodder for his cows;
– Research in LUMC to reduce the amount of disposable sanitary napkins in healthcare, both by raising awareness and changing the behavior of their use among staff, and by developing a sustainable alternative.

New round
New initiatives for the last round of the Circulair Verwaarden grant can be submitted until Tuesday 10 January 2023 via:

Culture Leiden Society Education

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