His Worshipful The Mayor Cllr Bryan Thistlethwaite presented five talented young care leavers from Darlington with their Bronze Arts Awards Certificates at a special exhibition and celebration event at Darlington Arts Centre on Thursday 12th August.
Since April, the young people have been working with artists Vicky Holbrough and Nicola Parkin to design and create their own visual artwork, building portfolios for the Bronze Arts Award, which is a Level 1 qualification. Across the weeks, they used and developed skills in a wide-range of visual arts techniques, such as printmaking, 3D sculpture, relief painting and clay sculpture. The pieces were framed and displayed on easels, with the sculpture work on plinths, resulting in a very professional-looking exhibition. One attendee commented that it was equal to, if not better than, work she’d seen recently at a number of London galleries.
The project has been a partnership between Tees Valley Arts and the Leaving Care and Arts Development Teams at Darlington Borough Council. Project managers are currently in liaison with Town Centre Managers to see whether it’s possible for the work to be exhibited in one of the empty shops in the town for the community to enjoy.
Tees Valley Arts Education Officer, Jane Gray said:
“The young people have achieved a great deal throughout this project – not just great artwork, but confidence and self-esteem, teamwork, leadership, communication skills and personal development. We’re all extremely proud of their achievements and it would be fantastic to showcase that within the town – young people often get negative publicity, and here there’s something very positive to shout about.”
Alan Welsh, Manager for the Leaving Care Team said:
“The work completed is amazing – the exhibition was fantastic and it never ceases to surprise me what young people can achieve despite difficult early life experiences. The team look to build on successes, and are motivated to provide many of the experiences young people deserve, but sometimes aren’t aware exist. To this end the achievements serve as both a testament to the teams work and to the young peoples’ ability and resilience.”
The project was funded by the lottery programme Awards for All and Positive Activities for Young People through Darlington Borough Council.