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Teme Valley youngsters find 'freedom' through art
5:30pm Friday 20th April 2012 in Ludlow
YOUNGSTERS who feel ‘trapped’ in a rural location are finding freedom through art.
An Acre of Art gallery in Wigmore is proving popular with teenagers and artists. The gallery was set up by the Teme Valley Youth Project (TVYP) as a self-sufficient source of funding.
Every Wednesday it hosts art workshops for local youngsters to work with local professional artists, creating art that will eventually go on display.
Jack Galliers, aged 13, is part of the group making Olympic-inspired sculptures from wire mesh.
“At school, if you do art, you’re told what to do but here you can try loads of stuff and do what you want,” said Jack.
Local teenager Chloe Thomas said: “I don’t do art at school because I can’t draw, but I can do it here and it’s good because it’s something different.”
When funding sources began to dry up a few years ago, TVYP – which caters for young people in 24 parishes across Herefordshire and Shropshire – faced closing the Wigmore centre or coming up with a lasting financial solution.
John Stenning, chairman of the TVYP, said opening a gallery seemed logical as it was so often art that helped young people realise their potential.
“Youth services face many challenges, with funding obviously high on the agenda,” said Mr Stenning.
“The need to diversify has become increasingly apparent with the rising costs of running the building itself.
“We looked at a number of options to make use of the fantastic space within the building and many people suggested that the light lent itself magnificently to the idea of an art gallery.
“The fact that the gallery fits so well with the ethos of the youth project makes it an ideal solution. We were adamant from day one that we wanted to display a very high standard of art and that it would run as a separate enterprise to the youth project, while complementing it and giving talented young artists a springboard from which they can flourish.”
There are currently 30 artists exhibiting at An Acre of Art. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm, and entry is free.