Biggest art class in the world – World’s Biggest art class Guinness World Record
Mouth and foot painting artist Katrina Gardner, leading yesterdays attempt on the world record for the biggest art class at The Bonus Arena in Hull , despite having too few participants, the event certainly caught the imagination of many youngsters, several of whom also made the most of the opportunity during the school holidays to try to paint with their feet.
But despite organisers’ efforts, the final tally fell more than 100 short of the current record of 809 people, who were taught by artist Martin Thomas at the Modell, Hobby, Spiel trade show in Leipzig, Germany on September 30 2006.
The event was led by Katrina Gardner, an artist who paints with her feet.
Katrina was one of 10,000 babies born with malformed limbs between 1958 and 1961 as a result of their mothers taking Thalidomide while pregnant.
Her interest in painting began at an art class in the village of Sproatley, near Hull, where she lives and she eventually became a member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, a group of disabled artists who use their mouths or feet to create original works of art.
Yesterday Katrina, armed only with a microphone, fought to make herself heard above the general hubbub to teach hundreds of schoolchildren and their parents a lesson based on the rules of perspective.
Paper and pencils were provided – but no paint – as they concentrated over their drawings, some trying to copy Katrina’s dextrous use of her feet.
Katrina, who was one of a team of artists to join Rolf Harris in painting a giant replica of Constable’s The Hay Wain in Trafalgar Square in 2004, said: “It was great, I really enjoyed it.
Mr Lamb, whose idea it was, said: “I think a World Record was always going to be a hard push but to get this amount of people going into a hall on a hot, sunny day is pretty good going.
“We had 3,000-plus people through the door and I think if there’d been a cloudburst at 2pm we’d have been laughing, but there were that many people enjoying the facilities outside that it stopped people coming back in,” he added..
“But the event was a fantastic success. The day is about community cohesion, schools working together and supporting each other and allowing families to do something that they can enjoy as families.”
The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists was founded in Liechtenstein in 1956.
Prominent members include Alison Lapper, whose pregnant sculpture appeared on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2005.
Lapper has a congenital disorder, phocomelia, which caused her to be born without arms and with truncated legs.
The AMFPA represents 800 mouth and foot painting artists in 70 countries around the world.
They receive grants or are taken on as members and receive a regular income for their artistic proficiency. Katrina is currently a student.
Work produced by its artists can be seen in the UN Headquarters in Geneva or the European Council in Strasbourg.
There are believed to be around 3,500 people currently living with the effects of Thalidomide. Of those survivors, many have had to endure discrimination and prejudice.
They have had to fight for paltry compensation from the German drug company which manufactured Thalidomide.