This project was a collaboration between the Belle Vue film company and the Whitworth Young contemporaries evaluation team, in order to create a piece of work to capture how young people feel about visiting Art Galleries. I must say some of the results came as no surprise, which was disappointing but truthful , as it has encouraged us as part of the youth group to continue creating some incredible events to encourage young people. I think it’s always great to explore a new visual art form especially within an area that I have had no experience in.
The process began by selecting three young people who we came across whilst visiting the colleges and youth groups in and around Manchester. Monet, Sophie and Fatima allowed us to follow them through their journey as young artists for around three months in order to gain insight into how they felt the art world was for them. I followed Monet through her interest within performing arts, which was also great for myself as this was something I had never particularly had interest within. It was an intriguing and fascinating experience to see how they responded to the traditional art of today as their opinions varied and luckily changed over the time that we spent with them.
Over the course of the three months we followed the three young people through their colleges and homes to see how Art affected them in their everyday life. It was a great opportunity to see them performing as young artists, whether it be singing, drawing, photographing and creating work. They were completely sceptical at first about the whole project, as their views on Art Galleries and the Whitworth as a whole was relatively disappointing. Some said it looked like ‘an abandoned building’, a place where they would never bring friends; a place that was old-fashioned. It was great to see how their opinions were transformed over time, and how the Whitworth young contemporaries played a huge part in doing so.
The collaboration of artwork, visuals, and music, I think changed their perceptions of what can be displayed within an Art Gallery. It was great to know that the work we do as young contemporaries was benefitting other young people across Manchester, I felt that step-by-step we are helping to create a better overall image of what Art is, and how Art can be young, contemporary and worth seeing.
The three ambitious young people we followed seemed excited by the process of Art as a whole, whether that be performing arts, music, painting or drawing and over the few weeks after we found some of them had even returned back to the Gallery, which in itself was a great achievement. I felt that the team, the young people and me all gained something from this project, as it seemed as though we had made progress and a step in the right direction.
By Charlotte Davies