Gallery TS1 Apprenticeship Programme Returns

A highly successful youth arts apprenticeship returns to Middlesbrough this week. Gallery TS1, which operated in the town’s Bus Station last year is a training scheme designed to inspire unemployed young people by engaging them in the creation and retail of high quality arts and crafts products.

This year’s gallery will operating from a converted empty shop unit in Corporation Road, close to Middlesbrough’s Empire Theatre and project manager Mike McGrother of tva is delighted with the project’s new home:

“Gallery TS1 is specifically designed to be a highly visible and stylish concept and our new site puts us right in the heart of the town. As well as providing excellent training and engagement opportunities for young people, the project really adds to the cultural regeneration of the town by providing a vibrant and eye catching studio and retail space”.

The project, initiated by Middlesbrough Council’s Cultural Services Department, is based on a project, Gallery 37 which started 10 years ago in Chicago. An original summer scheme has now developed into a permanent, alternative arts training facility for hundreds of young people in the city and Mike, who ran the project last year sees no reason why its success cannot be replicated in the Tees Valley:

“the arts, and especially the visual arts are an excellent tool for engaging people and sparking off a passion for further learning or training. Gallery TS1 is an exciting way of allowing young people to achieve in a relatively short amount of time as they see the work they produce fly off the shelves!”

This year’s products include individual jewellery pieces; photographic images of the north east; candles; stationery and hair accessories.

The project is funded by Middlesbrough Borough Councils’ Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Connexions’ Kick Start programme and tees valley arts.

Gallery TS1 will run for an initial 3 weeks, followed by further development work and a months’ operation leading up to Christmas. Most of the participants have been referred on to the scheme by Connexions’ Kick Start programme – itself an initiative to lead young people into work or training via creative and innovative pathways.

Customers are invited to view and purchase the work of Gallery TS1 from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm. Free coffee, soft drinks and sweets are available and visitors can see products being created as the studio works alongside the shop. Some of the country’s finest student animation work is also projected inside the specially created shop, courtesy of the University of Teesside’s Animex festival. It is hoped that the Gallery will remain open all year round as project managers’ tees valley arts are looking at it being a permanent space for young artists to display and sell their work.

For further details about Gallery TS1 please contact Mike McGrother at tees valley arts on 01642 264651 or e mail info@teesvalleyarts.org.uk

TVA is a participatory arts organisation, based in Middlesbrough and working across the Tees Valley, helping people change and improve their lives by taking part in the arts. TVA is a small organisation which makes a big impact in imaginative and unexpected ways.