Artbeat: weekly arts diary

Heather Neill

The Serpentine Gallery, London, which is showing an exhibition of Rachel Whiteread's work, has combined with the Royal Society of Arts to give students from two Westminster secondary schools - Grey Coat Hospital and Quintin Kynaston - the opportunity to participate in Art on a Plinth. They have taken part in eight practical workshops, led by artists Hannah Bryan and Ben Johnson. The results can be seen next Friday afternoon at the RSA, John Adam Street, London WC2. These, as well as lesson plans developed during the project, will be available on the National Grid for Learning. RSA: 020 7451 6869.

There are 13 Vermeers in the Vermeer and the Delft Schoolnbsp;exhibition at the National Gallery, which are seen in the context of other painters of Delft. Pieter de Hooch's geometric courtyards and interiors are well known, but for me the revelation of this exhibition was Carel Fabritius, a pupil of Rembrandt. Only nine of his works survive and four are shown here. They are earthy, direct, subtle and full of life, including two self-portraits which gaze frankly at the spectator. There is a programme of study days and lectures. For a booking for 12 or more, including a slide lecture, 020 7747 2888. Information: 020 7747 2885,

The new exhibition in the Sackler Wing at the Royal Academy, Ingres to Matisse: masterpieces of French painting, gives an account of the progression to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and includes examples of work by some of the most popular 19th-century artists, from Millet to Renoir, Sisley to Gauguin, Cezanne to Picasso. It is also a celebration of the art of the collector. The first of the key figures in accumulating this splendid collection, based in two Baltimore museums, was William T Walters (1819-1894), who made his fortune in whisky and railways. His son, Henry, expanded the collection of French 19th-century paintings; George Lucas, an engineer, and sisters Claribel and Etta Cone (sometimes advised by Gertrude Stein) acquired later works. There will be related events in September. More information: 020 7300 8000,

Those with memories of the National Theatre's nationwide celebration of youth theatre, BT Connections, will be pleased to see that this year's variation, International Connections, reaches its climax next week. Between July 11 and 14, the Cottesloe, Theatre Square (outside the theatre) and the Olivier stalls foyer will ring to the sounds of students and young people's international theatre groups. Tickets: 020 7452 3000.

Drama will be centre stage on July 12 when Time 2001 (Tamasha Intercultural Millennium Education) holds a conference designed to place teachers' voices "at the centre of intercultural debate for the first time... changing the culture of the drama classroom". Information: 01747 858776,

Theatre Centre's latest tour is a multicultural affair, with African drumming, Jewish laments - and "a cutlery cacophony". Jumping on my Shadow, by Peter Rumney, inspired by the history and communities of London's East End, has been developed by children from schools in east London and Aylesbury, Bucks. Available until December. Information: 020 7377 0379,

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Heather Neill

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