Youth Arts Fringe Begins with a Bang
15 Jun 2009
Last April, a full evening of enthusiastic performances and visual arts marked the launch of 2009′s Youth Arts Fringe.
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This April, a full evening of enthusiastic performances and visual arts marked the launch of 2009′s Youth Arts Fringe. The month of events showcased the creativity of young people participating in youth projects across Brighton and Hove, on the south coast of England.
The Youth Arts Fringe aims to build youngsters’ artistry and self-confidence, while developing political, cultural and community awareness. It offers a wide variety of visual and performance arts, including theatre, graffiti, photography, sculpture, dance and music. The event ran alongside the main Brighton Festival Fringe throughout May.
Attracting a huge diversity of talent, the Brighton Fringe is the largest open access festival held in the world, after Edinburgh. A lack of judgement criteria for registrants encourages young people from all backgrounds and skill levels to take part ñ and for the first time, this year’s youth events were included in the main festival listings, which reflects their growing popularity and recognition.
Over 500 young people, aged 11 to 25, from the local community, took part in the events. Co-organiser, Hazel Welch, stressed how important it was that the project ‘acted as an umbrella to promote youth services through the arts’ and help-ed to raise the profile of youth work in the area. The aim appears to be working too. Side Gaye, who runs an African drumming group that works with schools and children with learning difficulties, has seen an increase in interest from young people, since performing at the event.
Many participating groups encourage the involvement of teenagers marginalised by issues such as mental health worries or homelessness. Thirteen year old Jamie Blunden, who attends an art group for children in care, felt that youth projects ‘really help people with their problems.’ Exhibiting their activities on such a high profile platform generates pride within young people. It also raises awareness generally and showcases what creative opportunities are on offer locally, as well as what levels of support are available within their community.
Drumming group, African Night Fever. Side Gaye is second from left
Photo: © Jan Piotrowski
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