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Creative and Colourful

What a wonderful project!

Thanks so very much to Brave Bold Drama for selecting me to be their artist in residence, based at Creative Workspace in Withywood. I was thrilled to have been chosen for this Arts Council funded project.

My role was to work with a section of the local community and create a mural. I love being able to work with others and provide them with a visual voice in the public domain and this project did not disappoint! I had requested to work with Merchants' Academy, which is just around the corner from the site of this public artwork. Creative Workspace is a community centre with lots of events, facilities and cafe to boot.

Once everything was arranged, I headed to Merchants' Academy to start the design process. The initial workshop was oversubscribed, so instead of being in the art class, the teacher had to hire out the school hall! In excess of 80 students from year 9 turned up to create artwork exploring the themes of "What does creativity mean to you?" and "why is creativity important?". Their responses to these questions were beautiful, insightful and illuminating.

Following this workshop, I had to thread their designs together and create a mural. With so many submissions, I was unable to incorporate them all, but with such volume key themes and imagery were repeated by the students. There were stunning illustrations of eyes, references to outer space and the importance of time and the environment.

Once the mural concept had been drafted, the artwork was approved by Brave Bold Drama and painting began! The most glorious sunshine shone down as I painted away, encouraged by curious onlookers through the week. Once the mural was almost complete, we called the students back over for an after school workshop, onsite at Creative Workspace. The students who could attend were taught how to create stencils and then given the opportunity to take ownership of the mural and add their stencil design to the wall.

The result was even better than I had hoped - the addition of the spontaneous stencil design session and the student's placement of their artwork added humour and depth to the piece. The finished result feels positive and forward facing - the slogan "Nothing is Impossible" , which was written and designed by one of the students embodies the vision of Brave Bold Drama and Creative Workspace.

I hope that it will be enjoyed for years to come.

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