2019 Exhibition


Using art as a means to communicate a global and environmental message, in 2019 Jane Lee McCracken in partnership with Born Free Foundation and a group of dynamic teachers organised the following pilot exhibition at Thought Foundation, Gateshead:
  • Where Did All the Animals Go? An Exhibition of North East School Children’s Drawings Working with Artist, Jane Lee McCracken 20 June – 22 July 2019.

Jane worked with over 400 children from nine schools delivering drawing workshops for children to create portraits of endangered species to be displayed alongside a selection of Jane's artwork at the exhibition. This exhibition gave children from local schools the opportunity to see their work on display while encouraging children, parents, carers and families to further their understanding about the environmental issues the WDATAG? project raises.

Children of Jarrow Cross Primary School visiting Where Did All the Animals Go exhibition to see their work on display and research the exhibition for their Arts Award project

Using simple materials with the artist at its hub, and with her long-standing partnership with renown international wildlife charity Born Free, the project involves North East schools and communities with whom Jane has built trusted relationships. The group of Education Partners whose knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm is seen as a tremendous asset to the project, includes:

Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher RGS, co-instigator & Project Partner
Linda Peacock, Art Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross Primary School, co-instigator & Project Partner
Katie Lawrenson, Art Co-ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields Education Partner
Sara Punshon, Arts Co-Ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary, Seaham, Education Partner
Sandi Letton, Arts Co-Ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland, Education Partner
Samantha McCulloch, Junior School Staff, RGS, Education Partner

Africa species 2019 colour Biro drawings, children of Jarrow Cross

One inspired child is potentially a future creator and conservationist. WDATAG? project creates opportunities for children to champion global issues.

The project also questions how animals are traditionally placed in our childhood psyche, and challenges this to emphasise that humans need to live in harmony with wildlife in order to preserve our only habitat, Earth. It also reinforces the ethos of Born Free, that wildlife belongs in the wild.

Image courtesy of Will Travers OBE and Born Free

Participating schools and teachers included:

Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist Teacher, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle 
Linda Peacock, Arts Co-Ordinator, Jarrow Cross CE Primary School
Sara Punshon, Arts Co-Ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary, Seaham 
Sandi Letton, Arts Co-Ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland 
Katie Lawrenson, Arts Co-Ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields 
Ridgeway First School, Whitley Bay 
St Oswald’s RC Primary School, South Shields
Kibblesworth Academy
Whickham Parochial School

Europe and Oceania species colour Biro drawings by children from St Mary Magdalen Primary School and Mortimer Primary School

The exhibition provided an opportunity to experience the beauty of child art as well as form connections with each vulnerable species, through the creative response of a generation of young people.

Honey Bee 2019 colour Biro drawing, Lucas Year 4 St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School, Seaham

On display also, were Jane’s original Biro drawings and large format prints of her drawings exploring loss generated by human destruction and representational of both life’s beauty and brutal reality, creating memorials of lives lived, both human and animal and ways of life and environments lost. Her intricate drawings take several months to research and make and incorporate complex and symbolic drawing layers, which also encompass her love of film, bringing a cinematic quality to her art.

Hiroshima Unicorn Pinup (detail) 2017 green Biro drawing, WAR series Jane Lee McCracken

As exhibition curator, Jane produced:

  • An illustrated booklet given to each participating child and endorsed by Born Free Education, which included species information, environmental education, and drawing and portraiture tips
  • The exhibition, which included 50 framed A2 Biro drawings by children aged 5 -11 years old accompanied with species information labels; a selection of Biro drawings and large format prints by Jane; a ‘Community Wall’ of Biro drawings created by adults and children in a special project fundraising workshop delivered by Jane in January 2019
  • A film catalogue of all participants’ drawings to ensure that each child’s work was represented in the exhibition. This film was projected on the gallery wall so that drawings appeared in large scale format alongside conservation status and species population to give further impact to the plight of each species
  • A pop-up shop featured three newly commissioned A3 posters designed by Jane featuring a variety of children’s drawing, from schools across the North East; selling to raise funds for Born Free FoundationWCS Malaysia and Save Wild Tigers
  • Jane ran a series of brilliant Biro drawing workshops, open to all ages, throughout the exhibition
  • A free leaflet, available throughout the exhibition, as part of the educational resources provided: 12 Ways You Can Help Wildlife includes contributions from Will Travers OBE, Laura Gosset and David Bolton, PC Peter Baker, Dr. Melvin Gumal and Jane
  • Three films which can be viewed here

Harry Year 4 Mortimer Primary School, South Shields with his Great White Shark 2019 colour Biro drawing  


Jane Lee McCracken at Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition before opening, Thought Foundation

The preview for the Where Did All the Animals Go? An Exhibition of North East School Children's Drawings Working with Artist Jane Lee McCracken was held on 20 June 2019 at Thought Foundation.

Great White Shark by Isobel, Year 6
Many children who participated in the exhibition came from across the region to see their artwork on display. They also brought their families to see their endangered species Biro drawings.
Ava (centre) who drew a splendid hedgehog attended the preview with her family
Teachers from participating schools which included RGS Newcastle, Jarrow Cross Primary School, Mortimer Primary School, Bexhill Academy and St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School, also attended.
Jane with Miss Punshon of St Mary Magdalen RCVA Primary School beside European wildlife drawings created by her students
As well as delivering workshops to the afore-mentioned schools, Jane also delivered a workshop to several exceptionally talented young people who regularly attend her drawing workshops at Thought Foundation. 

Kate Tooley at the exhibition preview with her Fosa colour Biro drawing
For more information about drawings, workshops and conference speaker visit:

Showreel displaying a catalogue of drawings by every participating child