Opening on 3 August at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, Swoop: Birds of Delight is an installation of individually decorated 3D model birds created by Surrey primary school children during the Covid-19 lockdown as part of the ‘Boxes of Delight’ project.


The project – devised by Surrey charity Delight, in collaboration with local arts organisations Paintbox and Watts Gallery Trust – was launched in April to support the wellbeing and learning of children, cut off from their usual support structures, while schools were closed.   Two thousand Boxes of Delight containing Rainforest-themed art activities and materials, including the 3D exhibition birds, were delivered to children across the county.


Now, these Birds of Delight will be brought together by Paintbox artist Gina McAdam to create Swoop, an installation in the woodlands at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, to celebrate everyone’s achievement and for visitors to enjoy.


Commenting, Kathryn Mills, CEO of Delight, said:


“When schools closed, a wealth of new online resources were quickly available to enable children to continue to learn from home.  But for children without access to the internet, a printer or basic resources, this period presented a huge challenge, placing even more pressure on struggling families and widening the education gap.”


“With experience gained over the past five years of delivering arts programmes to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children, we were able to respond quickly.  The response to our Boxes of Delight from teachers, parents and children has been truly heart-warming. We are very excited to see the resulting installation.”


Hannah Maiya-Mills, Director, Paintbox, said:


“The last few months have been tough for many families. We hope this project has been a ray of sunshine for children experiencing isolation during lockdown. The Birds of Delight represent our hopes for the future – to ‘flock’ together once again and to feel free.”


Sarah Jarvis, Learning Curator at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, said:


“We are thrilled to be hosting Swoop, a joyous spectacle in our wonderful woodland here at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village.  We are very much looking forward to welcoming the young artists who have created this beautiful work, which will also be a highlight for all visitors during August.”


“Our collaboration with Delight is part of our Art for All learning programme, which delivers artist-led workshops to socially excluded and vulnerable groups to build new skills and self-confidence in order to improve lives.”


“This has been an extraordinary time, and we are very pleased to have been able to continue this collaboration when it has been needed most.”


Swoop: Birds of Delight opens in the Limnerslease Woodlands at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village on 3 August (until 31 August). Open daily, 10.30am-5pm, free with admission.  Pre-booking online is essential. For further information:


Photo: The Limnerslease Woodlands at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village © Andy Newbold