The Big Issue Christmas cover isn’t the only festive tradition to feature artistic child prodigies. In Scotland and in London the skies are lit up with artwork created by local schoolchildren.
In Newburgh, Fife, Christmas gets started early. As soon as the school term begins after Easter, local schoolchildren enter a competition to design a Christmas light for the town’s display – a tradition which has been running since 2002.
Last year, financial difficulties and school closures due to Covid meant that the town wasn’t able to put up a new light – and considered not running the display at all. But when local Poppy McKenzie Smith’s tweets about the display went viral, the crowdfunding page was inundated with donations.
This year, to make up for lost time, two designs were chosen: a rainbow drawn by Lois Murray, aged 11, to commemorate the NHS during the pandemic, and a fairy-light-clad dinosaur drawn by Arlo Nicol, aged 6. The display is once again being supported by a crowdfunding campaign.
Inspired by the Newburgh lights, architect Antonio Capelao asked children from Soho Parish School in London to design a light to represent what the festive period means to them.
Supported by Hannah Peaty, art lead at Soho Parish School, and Joao Rocha of Storm Flowers London, Capelao hosted two Zoom workshops for the school. Three winners from each year group – 21 designs in total – were chosen for the display.