Artists Open Houses (AOH) always welcomes young artists to take part in the festival. As part of our aim to encourage more students and young artists to get involved, Marigold Ashwell is working with AOH to develop a Young Artists Project this May. Five young artists are taking part in this year’s pilot, exhibiting work in six Open Houses, each of whom provides an artist-mentor who will work with the young artist to offer both professional and personal development skills.
We caught up with Marigold to ask her about the schemes developments.
Who is the scheme aimed at?
“The Artists Open Houses wants to involve young people - those who have both talent and passion in visual art, especially those who may face barriers to the development of their work as an artist or how they present their work professionally. For the pilot project this year we’ve invited 5 young artists from Visual Arts degree courses at Brighton University and from Art in Mind -a Brighton based community group for young people with experience of mental health issues, either personally or through family or friends.”
How will young people get involved in future?
“We are in contact with tutors at local universities and colleges and will be visiting the end-of-year shows. We’ll also stay in touch with Art in Mind and other community based groups in the City such as Carousel and Rocket Artists. Our current young artists will hopefully be advocates for the project too and, of course there will be useful information about the scheme on the AOH website.”
We asked Open Houses taking part what they hoped to achieve from the project:
Lucy Jenner, from Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft explained “We want to help a young artist in the early stages of their career, by creating new opportunities for them; to exhibit in a professional gallery space, to network with creative professionals and help to inspire their creativity.”
Jesse Leroy Smith said “Young people often see the idea of an artist and the art world in a fresh and unexpected way. The creative world has changed so much in the last ten years and will change again beyond our expectations and young artists often have an intuitive understanding of what people want from art. When I was 17 I met some artists at their studios and I was so surprised that you could make a life doing something I thought only happened in the past and that you can reinvent what art is”
Jude Hart was similarly altruistic. “I am really concerned by the devastating effect that tuition fees are having on the arts. We need to start providing different routes into the art world for young creative people.”
What do the Young Artists hope to gain from the project?
Josie Rogerson, 21, a third year Design and Craft student at University of Brighton who volunteers at Art in Mind, says: ‘I’m hoping to observe how people display their work. To gain connections with other artists and to have the opportunity to have discussions with them, to see if they are able to make and sell as a career or what they do alongside it.’
Olive Tree Artists (7 Dials trail) - Jane Abbott mentor.
And, 31 Havelock Road (Fiveways Trail)) - mentor Frances Doherty.
Lisa Buttery, 23, who volunteers at Art in Mind, says: ‘I hope to learn about promoting and selling my work. I’d like to learn how an open house is run and managed and gain confidence in showing my work.’
BHWC (Brunswick Town Trail) - mentor by Jude Hart.
Kirsty Lumm, 23, from Art in Mind says: ‘I am excited to become more involved in the community, meeting artists that have been involved for a while and learning from them. Also raising interest in the effects creativity can have as a way of therapy or communication is something I am very passionate about.’
Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft (Ditchling trail) - mentor Lucy Jenner.
Becky Netley from Art in Mind says: ‘I’m hoping to get some more exposure for my work, and also raise awareness of mental illness through exhibiting my work, as that will be my main theme.’
131 Preston Drove (Independent Trail) – mentor Jesse Leroy Smith.
Roo Hassan, 21, a second year Illustration student at University of Brighton, says: ‘I would like to gain more confidence and know-how with how I promote my work; at this stage I just have my website and no other form or method of sharing my work. I would also love the opportunity to do more commission-based work and work on live briefs so that I can gain a better understanding of professional practice. University sets you projects and assignments but doesn’t prepare you for the industry outside of education.’
NHR Organics (Seven Dials Trail) - mentor Laura Hoy.
Most importantly, the project is not just about what Open Houses can give to the young artists – they are the artists of the future and bring new life, directions and dynamism to a brilliantly diverse festival.
Marigold says: ‘If you are interested in finding more about the scheme, get in touch with AOH before October to express an interest.’