Families from across the city have been busy creating paintings, drawings, sculptures and collages as part of this year’s Open Show workshops. Hundreds of entries have already been submitted for this year’s event, organisers are encouraging even more families (young people, children, pre-schoolers and adults) to try out their artistic skills in the run up to Leeds Art Gallery’s August event.

Supported by Find Your Talent, the artist-led workshops have enabled children to explore their creativity and ideas in the run up to Open Show.  

The workshops will be held at Leeds Art Gallery on midweek days for the city’s primary and secondary school pupils. There are also free additional Children’s Art Day workshops for families and their children on Saturday 3rd July (pm), with two all-day workshop events on 10th July, and on 17th July. 

Children and Young People from all regions of Leeds have taken part in local workshops in areas such as Seacroft, Inner North West, and Morley. By encouraging families to participate and enter Open Show the gallery hopes to expand on the vibrant entries that have already been received for this year’s event.

The Hawksworth Wood Fun Club provides school holiday activities for children and young people on the Kirkstall estate aged 8-13.

During the past six months volunteers from Leeds University Union have hosted creative workshops to encourage local children to create and explore new art forms and develop their confidence (and interest) in the arts. 

Some of their activities include how to design a garden, a Spanish Cafe, flag-making, writing and recording their own music and food art from produce they have grown from seed.  

Regular summer activities can improve concentration, encourage participation and re-affirm positive behaviour/interraction within a variety of art forms including drama, dance, crafts and visual art.

The half term, Easter and Whitsun sessions have led to a Junior Youth Theatre being established at Hawksworth which will be a weekly gathering for young people in the local area to learn performance and drama skills. The theatre will be a long-term project for the area which will develop productions beyond the Find Your Talent programme.

Seacroft has been captured on film by young documentary film makers in East Leeds in a new film titled Seacroft Past, Present and Future. Established in August 2009, the Seacroft Youth Film Factory project has been running in partnership with Space2, Leeds Bridge community film organisation and the Youth Service at the Denis Healey Centre.

Seacroft Film Factory’s documentary film trailer was shown at Hyde Park Picture House in April  as part of Screen Yorkshire’s slot at the Young People’s Film Festival, with the final complete film along with Bloopers and outtakes at the David Young Community Academy at the end of April. 

Find Your Talent  have supported a further film project with the young people, through the Film Festival’s 24 hour Film Challenge.  Another film called Blue Boundaries was created based on the local history of Temple Newsam where a rumoured ‘Blue Lady’ wanders the grounds.

The project worked with young people 11 – 19, who explored local history through the medium of film. The group took part in practical delivery sessions, visited the National Media Museum, and also Bradford and Leeds Metropolitan University’s Northern Film School.

This innovative scheme developed arts and media-based skills, increased self-esteem, raised aspirations, and introduced pathways to positive future education and/or career choices in the arts and media. Following the sessions – where the group learned how to edit, shoot and plan their own films – four young people gained their Bronze Arts Award in January 2010, with a further 3 collecting Bronze PAYP awards and 1 Gold PAYP award.

A group of eight pupils from Parklands Girls’ High School in Seacroft are developing a Find Your Talent supported dance performance which will represent Leeds at the prestigious Share Your Talent  arts showcase at the Southbank Centre in London on 22nd of July.

The performance is the result of a collaboration by Phoenix Dance Theatre and Space2 – an organisation which uses the arts to work with disadvantaged communities in Leeds.

All the girls are taking part in a five-day dance workshop during half term  working alongside ten members of the Phoenix Youth Academy, and supported by Phoenix Artistic Director Sharon Watson, a former Parklands pupil, and choreographer Gary Clarke. 

The performance will be part of Firebird, a massive dance and arts community event that is being developed to celebrate Phoenix Dance Theatre’s 30th Anniversary in 2011 and the cultural Olympiad in 2012.  

Emma Tregidden, Creative Director of Space2, believes that this is a fantastic opportunity for the girls:

“They not only get the chance to work alongside professional dancers and choreographers, but they will also represent their city at a really prestigious event in London” she said.  “The girls will be ambassadors for the larger Firebird project which we are currently developing in time for Phoenix’s 30th Anniversary in 2011.”

As part of the workshop at the school, the pupils will be supported by Leeds Metropolitan University graphic design students who have created a film to act as a backdrop to the performance.  Music is being specially composed by Leeds-based singer and song writer Christella Litras.

The performance will also be showcased at the Seacroft Expressions Festival in Leeds in September as part of Parklands Girls High School’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Three groups of young people have been meeting regularly in Seacroft Manston, Morley and Inner North West to debate, discuss and make decisions regarding cultural opportunities in Leeds.

Find Your Talent is supporting three groups of young people to become cultural ambassadors for the city.  Each group works in different ways but shares the same aim: to have a young people’s voice in the city’s arts and culture.  The East Leeds group have enjoyed singing, guitar and steel pans at East Leeds Music Centre, had backstage tours of The Carriageworks and West Yorkshire Playhouse and have seen a performance of The Secret Garden. Many had never been to the theatre before.

During the Easter holidays, the three groups came together to meet one another and create a job description for their role as arts ambassador. 

Working alongside FYT and various cultural organisations (including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Carriage Works, and Libraries, Arts & Heritage) the budding arts critics – known as ‘arts ambassadors’ – have shared their ideas and opinions to ensure decision-makers at the local council take into account their views on culture.

The ambassador groups are being given exciting opportunities that will shape and develop their skills in communication, creativity and positive engagement with the arts. Some of these include film, music and drama/theatre visits.

Each participating school will eventually elect its own ‘Arts Ambassador’ for their council who will represent arts and culture at the school. The outcomes from the ambassador groups is helping to shape new directions and positive approaches towards young people in the arts in Leeds – from actual activities through to policy making (such as CYPP).

White Rose Learning Centre have worked in partnership with Find Your Talent to deliver the Performing for Success Arts Award in the Morley area of Leeds.   

The project is currently in its fourth term and has worked with a new batch of pupils each term from Year 6 – 9 at Drighlington and Fountain Primary Schools. Learners have been encouraged to explore the arts and experience a variety of art forms through performance.  

 

Each term has focused on one art form – last year the schools worked with a drama tutor to rehearse and perform an original piece at Leeds Grand Theatre. The pupils also had backstage tours of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The following term, year 6 pupils worked with DAZL dance facilitators to choreograph a dance piece.

 

This term Performing for Success has worked with the singer/songwriter Danny Gough to write and perform original lyrics which were recorded onto a CD. Pupils were also given backstage tours of Leeds’ historic venues and attended a performance of VOICES: The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff at the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds.  

 

As part of the Gifted and Talented National Strategy year 7 pupils (who already have an interest and talent in music) are also working with a musician to compose an original piece which will be performed at a forthcoming celebration event at the White Rose Shopping Centre.

 

Next term the project goes across the city to be replicated out in two other learning centres where the focus will be on radio production, poetry and martial arts; all of which will be accredited through the Arts Award scheme.  

Family film screenings over at Armley Mills cinema have been a roaring success over the past few months. The films, programmed by I Love West Leeds Arts Festival and funded by FYT, have proved so popular that an additional screening of The Goonies has been planned during July’s festival.

The film club is being supported for a further 12 months by Find Your Talent so watch out out for more cinematic gems from the self-styled ‘cutest little cinema in the world’.

For more info contact ilovewestleeds@googlemail.com

The Discovery Centre provided a great setting for FYT’s first Early Arts professional development event. The programme explored early years provision in Leeds and profiled some great projects taking place across the city including Creative Partnerships Enquiry Programme at Brudenell Primary School.

Delegates were also treated to a tour of the Discovery Centre and took part in a spot of speed networking. For details about the next FYT Early Arts event please contact hannah.farley@leeds.gov.uk

Seacroft Manston’s Junk Percussion are currently rehearsing in preparation for a series of performances at at Bradford Mela, Seacroft Gala and the Expression Arts Festival in the summer months.

This exciting project (run in conjunction with Connect Housing, Chango Music and Find Your Talent) brings together young people of different ages from all across East Leeds to create a loud, vibrant ‘stomp style’ orchestra.

16 pupils from 5 different high schools and 2 primaries in the East Leeds area have rehearsed on Tuesday evenings to make, thump and dance around old trays, barrels, teapots and saucepans.  The result?  The amazing and awesome Seacroft Junk Percussion Orchestra. 

The sessions have involved young people in a range of activities including basic drumming skills and rhythms, art and craft (making instruments and costumes), performance, dance and circus skills.

Local MC Testament (from the Leeds based hiphop act Homecut) has also run beatboxing sessions with the group. Homecut have recentlycollaborated with Corinne Bailey Rae, Soweto Kinch, US rap legend J-Live, Andreya Triana and the Cinematic Orchestra. Also a member of Schlomo and the Vocal Orchestra, Testament shared his skills with the junk band to help turn their vocal chords into instruments, which will then feature in this summer’s performances.

Seacroft Junk Percussion Orchestra will perform at Bradford Mela on June 12th and 13th, Seacroft Gala on July 3rd and shall play a final show at Seacroft’s Expression Arts Festival on September 25th.

36 young people, three artists and 11 youth workers from The Alston Lane Arts Group have enjoyed making art together at The Dennis Healey Centre in Seacroft.  Taking inspiration from gallery artworks, young people have created experimental drawings or made a giant colourful artwork of colour stories about their favourite things. 

Outcomes of the workshops (led by artist Nichola Pemberton and Gallery staff) will be taken to Leeds Art Gallery where they will be looked over by a Young Curators group in July – with the best pieces selected for display in the gallery August  – September 2010. 

For full details on the Open Show competition, entry forms and workshop sessions visit Leeds Art Gallery’s website http://www.leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 247 8256.

What was FYT?

Find Your Talent was a national programme to explore new ways of opening up cultural and creative opportunities to young people. Leeds was one of the ten FYT Pathfinders in England.

The programme was led by Leeds City Council and Education Leeds, working closely together and with the city's cultural and community sectors to find ways for more young people to participate in the cultural life of the city.

FYT was funded to operate between 2008-2011 but its legacy in Leeds continues through activities under the Breeze banner, as well as other initiatives.