Young creatives from across Renfrewshire have given a shining example of how arts and community work interlink for the benefit of those most in need.
HERE+NOW, which took place at Paisley Town Hall yesterday, marked the end of our massively successful Creative Mentoring Programme (CMP) and Advanced Creative Pathways (ACP) programmes.
In January, ten unemployed graduates aged 20-29 in creative fields joined CMP and ten unemployed young people aged 16-19 joined ACP.
A partnership with Invest in Renfrewshire, the programme offered six month traineeships with Impact Arts as the participants earned the living wage while receiving training in arts-based subjects, work experience, community placements, time, space and materials.
While honing their creative skills, the team have been offered mentorship from creative professionals in their respective desired fields. Examples of mentors include community cultural champion and singer Evelyn Laurie, digital design lecturer Sarah Dargie, Alan McEwan of Brick Lane Media in Paisley and writer, producer and director Karen Herbison.
HERE+NOW offered the chance for each of the CMPs to showcase their creative accomplishments alongside offering the audience information about the community work they’ve been doing over the past six months.
There was also live entertainment from the group in the form of an acoustic set by musician Paul Stewart, illusions and audience participation by Ross MacRae, and poetry by Rachel McGregor – all brilliantly compered by actor and writer Ben Niven.
You can read a booklet all about the programmes – featuring self-penned bios by each of the participants – here in PDF form.
Artist and CMP participant Kayleigh McGuinness said: “The programme has opened a huge door for me in terms of my career.
“It’s been a great opportunity to develop my creative and professional skills. It’s given me the opportunity to facilitate workshops and projects, learn how to budget and manage groups of people.
I’ve been successful in securing continued employment with Impact Arts as a tutor for the Craft Cafe in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire. It’s a really exciting time as I continue to develop my skills as a community artist.”
Graphic artist and ACP participant Callum MacMillan said: “The programme has helped me in so many way. I have learned skills in both photography and animation, as well as other digital arts.
“I have also met so many multi-talented individuals with whom I have formed valuable connections which should help me in the future as I break into the world of art.”
Impact Arts’ Head of Delivery Natalie McFadyen White said: “We are thrilled by how our CMP and ACP creatives have performed over the past six months.
“Each and every one has shown such energy and positivity, and today was a great demonstration of their growth as artists and as people.
It’s been a wonderful example of the way artists and creatives and can contribute to their community – we wish them all the best in what they are going on to now in their careers.”
As well as friends, family and members of the public, we had Renfrewshire-based elected members in attendance, including Provost Lorraine Cameron and Gavin Newlands MP.
Mr Newlands said: “I was delighted to be invited to the HERE+NOW event, which was a celebration of the fantastic and growing arts culture we have in Renfrewshire.
“It was an important reminder of the importance of our cultural sector to the local economy. From sustaining jobs in Renfrewshire to helping to provide young people with career opportunities, it’s important that we not only celebrate our creative sector but actively support it as well.
“Well done to all those involved in the planning of this fantastic event.”
The CMP and ACP projects were a partnership between Impact Arts and Invest in Renfrewshire, funded by Renfrewshire Council and the European Social Fund.