Part of ‘Acomb Ambassadors’ is to encourage young people from the West of York with the same cultural experiences many people take for granted. There’s a huge percentage of young people from Blackpool who have never been to Blackpool beach, something like 55%: there’s a similar statistic with young people from York who have never visited the Minster. Forgive us – we can’t recall the exact stat – but whatever it is it won’t be as high as the percentage of young people who have never visited York Art Gallery.
This is a shame and a continuing surprise to us who take excellent cultural experiences for granted as York Art Gallery is, by any standard, a welcoming and top quality location. We unleashed in a series of visits 3 cohorts of young people from the West of York. We primed them and told them to expect: York Art Gallery has a wide array of experiences on offer. The welcome our Ambassadors received over the course of one week was generous and reassuring. Thank you, Gallery staff.
Says Dominic, “I had never been to the main gallery before because I had been told it had an admission price. It doesn’t, not for under 17s. So that was a good start! Also, I really thought I wouldn’t understand the exhibition. Greg said I would like the permanent exhibition upstairs and he was absolutely right. The paintings were so good they didn’t feel real. And they were so old! It really made my imagination flow and I did my research when I got back home online. I’ll definitely come back.”
Says Carter, “I haven’t been for years, but I agreed with Greg when he said we really should go if we wanted be to good Arts Ambassadors. I’m glad I went because although I feel I have improved as an artist it is important to view art which everyone agrees is superb, because we never stop learning. I am looking forward to bringing my new skills to the Art Ambassador sessions.”
Says Kwaama, ”I went to visit the Art Gallery and one thing I was really mesmerised by was an art piece by Teppei Yamamda which went by the name ‘Apart and/or Together’. I had never seen anything like it before and although I am not as big on modern art it was so unique and eye catching. The piece could be interpreted in so many ways and I believe that that is the beauty of it. It will definitely make me a better Art Ambassador for when I go to Carr Junior”.
Says Ben, “I love the proper old fashioned painting, I don’t really like the Pop Art. I like to see paintings so good they make me want to be a better artist for when I work with younger people.”
Says Maddie, “When I visited York Art Gallery for the first time, I was particularly drawn to the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition. The exhibition consisted of several modern pieces which experiment with ‘technology, urbanization, digitization to population growth, ecological destruction and climate change’. It is explored in several ways such as moving and speaking pieces, painted art and photography.
As someone who has a liking for modern art, it was very enjoyable to walk around the display instead of ‘ancient, regal’ paintings. It was much more appealing to a younger eye as the art was modern and contextual to today’s problems in society. I really believe it will make me a better Art Ambassador, especially when we go to Carr Junior School.
For example, Teppei Yamada’s ‘apart and/or together’ explores the ideas of cultural homogenisation by using coloured ribbons to represent the movement of 10 different people’s heartbeats. The art is supposed to present the idea that although we have many differences, humanity shares more similarities. This can be seen as very important in today’s society as we should celebrate our similarities in life but also what makes us individual as people.”
The Ambassadors have taken on a lot. It’s not enough to be a skilled young artist nowadays, you have to, if you want to maintain an ambassadorial role, really connect and that means opening yourself up to cultural experiences that rank among the best in the country. Our team definitely did that, and it was great to watch them bring their new skills to working with 75 young artists from Carr junior and young artists from schools in the West of York during the Art Camp sessions.
India, aged 16, New Visuality blog writer