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Art projects provide top opportunity

"IGHS phrimz gongha brie ruhbritz."

"IGHS phrimz gongha brie ruhbritz."

The young man in front of me spoke. For a moment, everyone looked at him in bemused silence. It was interrupted by a commanding voice: "John, take that spoon out of your mouth."

John obliged. Spoon departed mouth. "Good, now what did you say?" "I said," John ventured, with deliberately pronounced elocution, "that this film is going to be rubbish."

I am sitting in a near empty warehouse, hidden away in the mazey roads of Digbeth, somewhere near the Custard Factory. Near-empty for not only does it contain tens of thousands of pounds worth of high end video production equipment, but there is also about eight teenagers, two youth workers and three artists all arguing about how rubbish their film is going to be.

They have four weeks to produce two ten-minute films based around the Andy Warhol exhibition: 'The Eternal Now' (currently on show at the Ikon Eastside).

It is now the end of the second of four weeks. They still haven't agreed what the first film is going to be about, let alone started to film it.

The project is being co-ordinated by Brindley Place's Ikon gallery and Birmingham Council funded Gallery 37. They provide the artists, the council provides the youth workers, and the teenagers come here to gain qualifications.

All of them are the so-called 'NEETs', not in education, employment or training. Although to brand them with such negative terms is ridiculous. It soon becomes clear that they are intelligent, creative and articulate young people.

Craig Bush, 22, from Knowle, started off on a similar project, and now he has returned as a 'shadow artist' on the project building up his qualifications while learning from the artists leading the projects (as well as the teenagers themselves).

"I got involved through a leaflet passed to me while I was at college[2026]it seemed like a good option as I wanted to work in the arts and had no way in," Craig said.

"It is a great opportunity for me to further my skills and help others to develop their skills."

In the future Craig is hoping to build on what he has learnt working for Gallery 37 to enable him to make a living in the art world.

"I'd like to possibly work as a freelance artist or get a career in the arts, which will have been furthered by the connections I have through these and other projects I have worked with Gallery 37."

And what about the teenagers themselves? I talked to Dan, an enthusiastic 22 year-old from Yardley. This is his second time on a Gallery 37 project, and the experience has encouraged him to get back on to a Graphic Design course he has previously dropped out of. Success all round then.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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