Club launched in Leicester's 'forgotten estate' by rising star of art world


A Fine Art MA graduate whose work has appeared in the world famous Saatchi Gallery has taken time out to run a Saturday morning art club for children as part of De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) Square Mile project.

Marcus Dove, who has made his name by creating explosive installations using paint-filled rocket launchers and flares, teamed up with the university’s outreach coordinator Jonjo Elliott - also a DMU Fine Art MA graduate and established artist ­- to launch the free weekly classes in Thurnby Lodge.

art club marcus - MAIN

When the Square Mile project started in the area last month, local councillor Teresa Aldred said she felt that by working with DMU students and staff Thurnby Lodge would "no longer be a forgotten estate."

Children who attended the first art club decorated masks using everything from paint and feathers to glitter and textiles.

Jonjo, who already runs DMU art club schemes in Beaumont Leys and at his Studioname premises in St Matthew’s estate, said: “As soon as the children sat down in front of a pile of masks and art material they got stuck in and didn’t leave their table for the whole session.

“They put their phones away and created some great designs that they could take home with them.

“The kids loved it and the parents and carers got involved too.         


“The children loved coming to a club and making a mess without being told off and it was a great opportunity for parents and carers in the community to come together too.

art club MAIN THREE

“It was good to see people chatting away and coming up with ideas for their own projects. One parent asked if they could start a crochet club while the children were painting which was brilliant to hear.

“Marcus Dove is really flying in the art world. He’s showing his work at the Saatchi one week and the next week he’s running an art club. How many people do you know like that?”

The art club runs from 10am to midday every Saturday at Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, in Thurncourt Road, and it is free to join.

Over the next few weeks, the Thurnby Lodge Square Mile Project will see students and staff from DMU help offer a variety of services and work with locals to create new community facilities.

art club jonjo MAIN

These include:

  • Working with Thurnby Rangers to develop its youth teams via FA Level One Coaching Courses for managers
  • Starting a Saturday art club for children
  • Supporting a Master's student in DMU's Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development to improve energy efficiency in the Boyzee youth club
  • Running drop-in diabetes screening sessions in the community centre
  • Free hearing tests from Audiology students and academics
  • A walking football sessions for older residents
  • Support for individuals and families dealing with cancer through DMU's Macmillan Support volunteers

For more information about the art clubs in Thurnby Lodge, Beaumont Leys and St Matthews, email

Posted on Tuesday 21st November 2017

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