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Charlbury arts project partners with local theatre

In a pioneering partnership, Charlbury based arts project AYYO Contemporary Art has worked closely with The Theatre Chipping Norton to run a mentoring project for a group of five young artists from the region as they mount their first professional exhibition at the theatre.

For the exhibition, called 'High Seas and Palm Trees', the young artists have responded to the 2016 panto 'Robinson Crusoe and the Pirate Queen' and made colourful prints, animation, comic books, ceramics and even a musical soundtrack. The young artists were given unique access to rehearsals, script and set designs to help them with planning their artworks.

They have made their own animated website too

ILLUSTORY EU is the name of the youth project and offers professional development for young artists, illustrators, animators and games designers from the Oxfordshire region.

The theme of the project is discovering stories and young artists are encouraged to delve into the literary works that are emblematic of their own cultures. They consider why they are so loved and make contemporary visual responses to them and it is hoped, vision new stories together. The project began in July this year with the young artists making art works in response to Carroll's much beloved fantasy novel 'Alice in Wonderland'. Their work was shown in Oxford to coincide with the annual Alice's Day events.

The project is led by artist and AYYO Creative Director Clare Carswell and mentoring by artists, illustrators and publishers in order to learn the skills required to work as arts professionals, as well as networking and exhibition opportunities is offered to the young participating artists.

Clare says of the project :

"Having mentored two local young artists as studio interns in the last three years, I have learned that there are many other talented arts graduates who return to the county with their degrees but may not then find it easy to launch their career as creative professionals. There are fewer opportunities in the rural areas than there are in the city for emerging artists to show their art or for the networking that is vital to progressing a career in the arts and many of these talented young people are doing non-arts related jobs and can lose heart that they will get to use their education. With support and encouragement from experienced arts professionals and the chance to take up real world opportunities they can gain confidence and go on to make a real contribution to society as the creative people that they are. Having taught in Further and Higher education for many years it is a pleasure to now be using my lovely studio at Charlbury as a hub for this project and I plan for 2017 to make funding applications in order to develop the project and partner with more professionals and arts organisations so that I can offer similar opportunities to more young arts graduates in the county."

AYYO and The Theatre Chipping Norton hope to make this panto themed exhibition an annual event and other future plans for ILLUSTORY EU include an exhibition in Oxford next July to coincide with Alice's Day 2017 and then to work with young artists and arts organisations in the Netherlands on collaborative projects. AYYO will partner with the Oxford-Leiden Link association to support the young artists in undertaking exhibition opportunities in the Netherlands.

Clare Carswell MA(RCA)
AYYO Contemporary Art
Spelsbury Road

01608 811997 07769 723328

Clare Carswell · Sat 19 Nov 2016, 13:19 · Link

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