Eleven young people from across the city are welcoming the public to an exhibition of work from British and International artists at Radiant Gallery on Derrys Cross this month.
Tuesday 19 August will be the first in a series of five “r[eff]uge” exhibitions from Effervescent, the social enterprise that recently converted an old bank into Radiant: a cultural laboratory and tea room.
Effervescent is an arts lab, which works across art forms to create extraordinary projects.
r[eff]uge is a curating project supported by Arts Council England, BIG Lottery and Plymouth University, researching what happens when previously untrained young people curate contemporary art exhibitions about subjects that are important to them.
This is a ground-breaking project, as there isn’t any other professional art gallery in Britain curated entirely by groups of young people.
Effervescent Director Eloise Malone said, “We know that lots of people don’t engage with visual arts in Plymouth, and yet research shows that when people do, it’s beneficial to their wellbeing and social lives.
“With r[eff]uge, we’re experimenting to see what sorts of shows people in Plymouth find interesting, and the best ways to show work which is visually beautiful, emotionally truthful, and socially pertinent.”
Effervescent’s Curator, Ray White, added, “Lots of galleries want to engage new audiences and friends, but control over what’s on remains with the gallery. At Radiant, we collaborate with groups who don’t engage much with the arts, supporting them to develop their skills and take control.
“We are delighted with the show that’s been put together: a powerful discussion of what it is like to be lonely and vulnerable.”
Young Curator James Curno, 21, said, “This was a very unique, special opportunity. It’s like nothing I’ve done before, and it’s really helped me develop my confidence. After being out of education for a long time I’ve re-found my determination and I’ve just been offered a place on a foundation course in art for this autumn.”
The show opens to the public on Wednesday 20th August, and continues daily. Entry is free.
A free social event with salsa dancing on Friday 29th August aims to welcome anyone in the city who wants to make new friends – come alone or meet someone to dance with - then carry on to Karst to experience their new exhibition Cocktail, then to Flameworks to see the range of work produced there, and for a barbecue!