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Photo by Roger Green

Artists Antoine Genevier and Jennifer Mesrie discuss their plans for Pitzhanger’s new art programme for toddlers and preschoolers.

Mini Makers is Pitzhanger’s new Early Years programme for children under five and their families.

It’s a drop-in art session designed to allow young children the space and time to explore their creativity and develop their fine motor skills by working with various art materials in an open, welcoming (and messy!) environment.

Mini Makers is about encouraging a child to play in an interactive environment where they can express themselves freely.”

Jennifer Mesrie

The sessions are designed and facilitated by artists Antoine Genevier and Jennifer Mesrie, two experienced artist practitioners with backgrounds in art education for Early Years. They work together to develop the sessions based on a monthly theme.

Each session will have different activity stations for the children to try out. They include large-scale cooperative painting projects, printmaking with natural objects, sensory object play, and much more! Children can move from station to station to explore a variety of materials to draw, paint, build, and make, including colours, play dough, and recycled and natural materials.

We caught up with Jennifer and Antoine to talk about their experiences working in arts education, along with their plans for Mini Makers:

Tell us something about yourselves. What are your experiences working with children in the arts?

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ Jennifer Mesrie (JM): I have been working with children of all ages in the arts for 15 years. The most rewarding aspect of the work for me is seeing a child’s creativity develop and helping them feel as passionate and engaged as I am about the subject. I think it’s an integral part of a child’s growth and an important skill to harness. 

πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ Antoine Genevier (AG): I have worked in education since my teens, always helping out with after-school art clubs and things, but then I went on to teach in Berlin and Paris for the last ten years, working for a variety of different schools and educational systems. Art has always been rudimental in how I teach and work. It is the first tool to use. It’s how we express who we are, but what I find most rewarding is seeing how their work develops and seeing them grow into creators, builders and risk-takers.

What inspires you to teach art, especially to toddlers and preschoolers under five?

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ JM: I enjoy seeing the mini-makers (children) explore new materials they may not have used before, as well as their intuitive approach to painting.

πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ AG: It has to be their imaginations, doesn’t it? Seeing how they realise that energy is endlessly inspiring. 

Can you tell us about Mini Makers at Pitzhanger? What is it all about?

πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ AG: I would love for it to be a space where creativity, expression and mess (obviously 😜) come together in an interactive environment.

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ JM: I plan to run fun sensory workshops engaging each child. Mini Makers is about encouraging a child to play in an interactive environment where they can express themselves freely.

“What I find most rewarding is seeing how their work develops and seeing them grow into creators, builders and risk-takers.”

Antoine Genevier

What experience will families have when they come to Mini Makers?

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ JM: I hope they come away feeling like their child has had fun and perhaps realise how important it is for a child’s development. 

πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ AG: I am going to be honest β€” everyone gets messy, but also sees the importance of being playful and messy with your creativity.

What activities, themes, and messes will happen at Mini Makers?

πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ AG: I know Jennifer and I have a lot planned, including building new creations by reusing toys to create something new. We want to work closely with the gallery to do some themed workshops. 

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ JM: In January, we have a workshop called Supertoys which will coincide with the ‘A Sense of Wonder‘ exhibition at Pitzhanger Gallery. Children get a chance to take old, discarded toys and create new ones with their parts. 

Finally, what is your favourite colour?

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ JM: Pink, as it makes me feel calm. 

πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ AG: The hardest question of all! I would say all colours as it’s about your emotional response to them and how you choose to express yourself in that given moment.

Mini Makers runs weekly from 10.30 am – 2.00 pm. Families can come and go as they please at any time. The sessions are bookable and also available to drop in.Β 

Full-price tickets are Β£5 per child, with a concession ticket available for Β£1 to qualifying families. Ticketholders can access Pitzhanger Manor for free on the day (Entry to the exhibition in Pitzhanger Gallery requires a separate ticket). They can also get a free babyccino and discounted coffee and cake at Pitzhanger Pantry near the Walpole Park playground.

Make a day of it and book your place now!



23 Feb 2024
to 29 Mar 2024

Mini Makers

More info


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Contact Us

Ealing Green, London
W5 5EQ
Reception: 020 3985 8888
Venue Hire: 020 3994 0966
Office: 020 3994 0967

Wednesday - Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00
First Thursday of the month: 10:00 - 20:00
Monday - Tuesday: Closed
Bank Holidays: 10:00 - 17:00

Last admissions one hour before closing

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