One of the key aims of The Arts Society is to provide children and young people with exciting opportunities to become involved in creative arts activities. Over the years Gade Valley has conducted a wide range of Young Arts Projects, such as funding a visit for local primary school children to the National Gallery, paying a professional artist to help members of a local youth group decorate their premises, providing a grant to help establish an orchestra within the borough and supporting local art competitions for children and young adults. Such projects can help children to start developing a lasting enthusiasm for the arts.



Gade Valley undertook a venture this Summer, demonstrating that it is possible to extend arts projects to the wider community, even working with organisations which are not normally accessible. In collaboration with the charity, Pictora’s  ‘Made Visible’ Project to ‘bring inside talent out’,  Gade Valley provided a judging panel for an art competition at the Mount Prison, Bovingdon and purchased the materials required to produce A5 pieces of art and poetry.  The works were displayed for prison visitors in July and subsequently, with the support of the Berkhamsted community arts centre, The Open Door, at an exhibition for the general public. The Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire arranged for the winning piece, a pencil drawing of razor wire, gates and barriers, to be displayed at the September RSA Exhibition. Everyone involved was moved by the obvious pride participants took in seeing their work displayed and the surprise with which many appeared to view their achievements. It is hoped that our Society will be able to continue to develop such worthwhile projects to promote wellbeing through the arts.

Made Visible images



The Arts Society Gade Valley has once again collaborated with Ashridge DFAS and the Rotary Clubs of Berkhamsted and Bulbourne and Hemel Hempstead to organise the 5th Dacorum Young Arts Competition and Exhibition. The achievements of 9 and 10 year-old pupils from 16 schools in the borough of Dacorum were celebrated on 4th May 2019 at Astley Cooper School, Hemel Hempstead. Nearly 400 drawings and paintings were displayed for visitors and Guests of Honour, the Worshipful Mayor of Dacorum, Councillor Rosie Sutton and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Lady Shelagh Nichols, to admire. A ‘Best in School’ award was made to an entrant from each participating school and the artists awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd places overall received vouchers to purchase art materials. Many teachers and parents expressed their delight and appreciation for the opportunity the Exhibition provides to showcase the talents of children of all abilities and the encouragement this provides.

The subject matter chosen by schools was hugely varied as the Competition is designed to allow teachers to select their own themes to support the overall curriculum. Entries took inspiration from observation of nature including leaves and trees, Tudor costumes, Biblical stories, climate change, the Moon landing and pets and hobbies. The diversity of the subject matter was a perfect illustration of the important role art plays in supporting the academic curriculum in allowing children to express their thoughts and imagination.

Plans are already in hand to build on this success to secure even more entries for the 2020 competition which will culminate in an exhibition on 9th May 2020.

Image: 1st place and school trophy, Bridgwater School pupil


Talented pupils from Astley Cooper showcased at the Gade Valley AGM

Attendees at the recent AGM had a rare opportunity to admire the talents of GCSE pupils from Astley Cooper. The school has just received a donation from Gade Valley to purchase photographic printing equipment to support the development of photography as a speciality at A level and GCSE. In total this could benefit over 350 students.

There were two main themes for GCSE work, reflection and freedom and the creativity this inspired could clearly be seen in the work on display. We were delighted to be working with Astley Cooper for the first time and repay some of their generosity in providing a complimentary venue for the Dacorum Young Arts Competition each year.

For images see Gallery