Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: How did Inspiring Impressionism make an inspiring impression on young visitors from EY Smart Futures?

by Nikki Gandy, Development Manager – Corporate Support at National Galleries of Scotland

Nikki Gandy is the National Galleries of Scotland’s Development Manager for Corporate Support, looking after the corporate sponsorships for the galleries’ exhibitions, education programmes and capital projects. The National Galleries of Scotland continually looks for collaborative ways of adding value to our supporters’ active community initiatives, emphasising our dedication to making gallery spaces welcoming, inclusive and inspiring to visitors of all ages.

As a newcomer to the National Galleries of Scotland in January 2016, and with a history in corporate fundraising for children’s charities, I entered the world of arts sponsorship with an avid interest in making sure all our corporate relationships deliver added benefits to the wider community. I’m delighted to work for an organisation that values accessibility and inspiration at its core, and I’ve been excited to be involved in a range of fantastic events at the galleries this year that offer creative, life-changing experiences for young people.


Visitors from the 2016 EY Foundation Smart Futures programme in Edinburgh
One such event was a duo of education sessions delivered by colleagues from a whole host of teams at the galleries. Our public programme is supported by a variety of corporate sponsors this year, including EY. As part of EY’s sponsorship of the exhibition Inspiring Impressionism, we invited nine young people from the EY Foundation Smart Futures programme to attend two interactive education sessions, giving them a bit of an introduction to the vast and varied roles of some of our 350+ colleagues.

From curatorial planning and press views to marketing and art handling, we were eager to share some behind the scenes knowledge with this enthusiastic group of young people and welcome them to the home of their national collection.

Thankfully, the group were equally keen to share their feedback, and of course my colleagues and I were delighted to hear that they all loved the opportunity! I wanted to relay some of these comments as an example of the added value that comes from corporate sponsorship of the arts in our community, but that very often goes unnoticed…

“I went to the National Galleries of Scotland as part of the Smart Futures programme with the EY Foundation and it was an amazing experience. I enjoyed finding out much more about Monet, Daubigny and Van Gogh. I was already a fan of Van Gogh so I was so happy to see many of his paintings in person. I also enjoyed the replica of Daubigny’s boat that he painted on, you could go inside it and sit down and see what it would have been like for him!”


Re-creation of Daubigny’s Studio Boat in the Inspiring Impressionism exhibition
“The thing that surprised me the most was the process of getting all the artworks up. So much more goes into it than you would expect, like how lights have to be at a certain brightness so that the paintings aren’t damaged or the fact that all the walls in every room are painted to a complementary shade to the artwork that is going to be hung up. Even getting the actual paintings is much more complicated than you’d expect as you can only have them for a certain amount of time and there are certain terms and conditions to where and how you hang them and some the artworks are even from private owners all over the world.”

“My favourite thing about the Inspiring Impressionism exhibition is the triptych arrangements of paintings on the wall – Van Gogh, Monet and Daubigny side by side – It was amazing to see how all the artists interpreted the same things in different ways and how Daubigny inspired both Van Gogh and Monet. My favourite painting is the ‘Landscape at Auvers in the Rain’ by Van Gogh.”

“Following these sessions I have become more intrigued by the galleries and the work that they do. I would definitely like to learn more about working in the arts. This opportunity of working with the gallery through EY has been a brilliant experience and has opened my eyes to what I may want to do in the future. I am very pleased I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and see the exhibition before it was finished.”

Originally published on the National Galleries of Scotland website on 27 September 2016.

Applications for the EY Smart Futures programme are now open. If you, a friend or family member are interested in taking part, click here to find out if you meet the criteria and for details on how to apply.

Inspiring Impressionism was on display at the Scottish National Gallery from 25 June – 2 October 2016. EY were the sole sponsors.

Continuing our relationship with the National Galleries of Scotland, we are delighted to support A Perfect Chemistry: Photographs by Hill and Adamson at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery from 27 May – 1 October 2017.