Started by NADFAS in 1973 as Young Arts we have over the years supported, generally through financial help, the development of various projects to provide exciting opportunities and encouragement for children and young people to expand their horizons through their involvement in creative arts activities.
More recently we have widened our outreach to include not only young people with little or no experience in the arts but also those who have reached advanced education in the arts or even embarked on their early years of an artistic career, be it painting, sculpture, literature, music or drama. Group projects involving adults are also included for consideration. This broader, all-inclusive aspect of support by The Arts Society is now reflected by its new name: Arts Volunteering.
We want to inspire young people with a lasting enthusiasm for the arts, and an awareness of our arts heritage and its conservation. Our vision is equality of opportunity for all to learn through participation in the arts. Typical projects can include:
- Artists in residence in schools
- Funding for gallery and museum visits
- Art exhibitions
- Bursaries/awards for individual students
- Trails of Discovery (see bottom tab of Volunteering menu)
From a national meeting I attended in 2020 I noted the wide variety of projects and initiatives undertaken in other areas which could be valuable for our WM Area committees when deliberating on how best to allocate resources. You can find out more here.
More recently, I have been finding out what has been happening in our West Midlands societies and it is apparent that the ingenuity that has been shown, despite lockdown, is very impressive. I know that some areas either don’t have an Arts Volunteering representative or haven’t been able to support projects for whatever reason. If that is the case in your society please don’t feel despondent as these difficulties are being experienced across the board.
Examples of projects from around our own area which may be of interest include funding and/or support for:
- Masterclasses (on Zoom) for instrumental pupils in five disciplines, given by professional musicians
- Art workshops for people with Neuro-disability at Royal Hospital Wolverhampton
- Art-Coordinator training for Arts Award; the teacher will be introducing the Arts Award with upper school pupils later in term
- Art materials for Young Carers projects. Grant to the Art and Music departments of a local school
- The biennial Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest literary festival
- Local repertory theatres which have youth sections
- A local art gallery for a dementia project
- A local history group making a video about their town’s history
When different groups in a locality get together, valuable cross-fertilisation occurs which helps to publicise one another’s organisations.
These have been very difficult times for everyone and I think we should be proud of what has been achieved in the West Midlands Area.
If you would like to find out more about Arts Volunteering projects in our area please contact me: Edwina McConville.