Halloween this year meant more than pumpkins and trick or treat here at Mid Pennine Arts. For MPA, the 31st of October marked an end to months of hard work by young people: it was the date of our Arts Award moderation.
During the summer term of 2011, young people from our Heritage Lottery funded Young Roots projects in Accrington and Nelson were busily working towards their Bronze Arts Awards, as were children in Runcorn who were involved in their school’s Creative Partnerships activity.
As the young people’s beautiful portfolios began to take shape, with collage, fold outs, pockets, photos, films, audio and even samples of textiles collected from research visits, they told the story of their creative experience.
They described learning skills and developing ideas with creative practitioners in diverse artforms from drama to visual art, textiles to bookmaking, making artworks and sharing them through exhibitions and performances.
They experienced being in the audience at arts events, for instance, seeing the work of Anish Kapoor at Manchester Art Gallery and visiting art and craft centres, reviewing art collections on display in local museums and visiting sites of religious art.
Moreover these young people shared their skills, demonstrating techniques to the public at exhibitions, or in school with younger children, writing instructions, performing and inviting question and answer sessions from their audience.
Each portfolio detailed the inspiration drawn from an arts hero. For many these individuals were the artists they had worked with such as Lisa Watson and Karen Alderson. For others their heroes were local arts champions such as Accrington’s Julie Hesmondhalgh. Some were wowed by their trip to Manchester and decided to find out more about Anish Kapoor.
The portfolios were detailed, colourful, individual and intriguing. Spending time assessing them gave enormous pleasure as each one revealed, through hidden pockets, shape poems, mirror writing and fold out pages, its individual treasures. What terrific effort and imagination!
… and then the day came. Young people, Zara, Sanaira, Kate, Amelia and Amber arrived ready to talk to Buzz, the Arts Award moderator. And as they munched on Halloween themed cakes, Buzz broke the news: they passed! Huge congratulations to them and all of the 23 young people who completed portfolios and achieved Bronze Arts Awards.
As for MPA, we’re ready to do it all again. Who’s next?
Author: Steph Hawke