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Young Makers

With the start of the new spring term I am busy getting our usual programmes up and running again and planning for the Young Makers tour taking place in partnership with Kids Own, Kilkenny Arts Office, Noise South Dublin and Temple Bar Cultural Trust. The first leg of the tour kicks off here at West Cork Arts Centre at the end of February, moving on to Kilkenny at the end of March and No Grants Gallery, Templebar at the beginning of May. I hope you will get the opportunity to see this exhibition of international young people’s artwork at some stage of its tour over the next few months.

I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know a little bit about how this tour came about. 

The exhibition originated from Eksperimenta! the international trienniale of young people’s artwork which took place in Estonia in spring 2011, as part of their year as European Capital of Culture. Kids Own was invited to curate the Irish entry for the exhibition, and the other partners in the Young Makers tour were involved through submissions from young people involved in their programmes being included as part of the Irish exposition.

From our point of view at WCAC, involvement with the project began when I noticed teh call out in a Practice newsletter, and asked a young girl, involved with our Friday Night Youth Arts group and working with me for a week on work experience, to put together a submission of some of the work the FNYA had produced for our Youth Evnt in spring 2010. She did a great job of writing about the work, and two pieces were chosen by Kids Own as part of the Irish entry.

I was lucky enough to also travel to Estonia to see the exhibition, as i was involved with the accompanying seminar event IDEAlaboratory. The quantity as well as the quality of work on show there was incredible, more than 400 artworks from young people from 13 countries across the world, and a fantastic job done by all  the curators from each country in pulling it all together into one show across two amazing venues. The group from Kilkenny were delighted to win the award for Most Promising Young Artist, for their piece Stop Motion Animation, created with artist Vanessa Daws.

After the excitement of this successful international event had passed, Kids Own were keen to find a way to bring some of this work to an Irish audience. Discussions began in May 2011, with a first meeting between the partners in early June. Since then the Young Makers tour has slowly taken shape. All of the work from the original Irish entry to Eksperimenta! is included, along with work from four other countries, Canada, Portugal, Latvia and Slovenia, whose curators responded to Kids Own’s request for submissions. The exhibition will take a different form in each place, as each venue curates its own show, drawing from the work available.

I love the fact that from an initial response to an open call, that we happened to notice, and was well timed (when we had artwork available, and I had an extra pair of hands to write the submission) West Cork Arts Centre is now involved in a national partnership, and an international show, promoting Youth Arts and celebrating the quality of young people’s artwork acorss the world. Its so important to follow up the little opportunities when they come along, as you never know what they may grow into.


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