Young artists beaming to join in light show celebration

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Young artists have experienced their own light bulb moment as they learned how to create their own designs with some expert help.

Stuart Langley and Mick Stephenson have been leading workshops at Dawdon Youth and Community Centre as they make their own illuminated art.

Stuart Langley will help lead workshops as part of the Neon and That celebration.

Stuart Langley will help lead workshops as part of the Neon and That celebration.

The men, who have been involved with Lumiere in Durham and Sunderland Illuminations as well as other large-scale events across the country, will show their own pieces alongside the finished displays.

The free exhibition, Neon and That, will run at the centre from Saturday until Sunday, January 15.

Joanne Bowen, youth and play development manager at the centre, said: “The experience has been fabulous and it’s really given a boost to the young people’s confidence and self-esteem.

“Through the workshops with Stuart and Mick they’ve been able to use art to express themselves and I know everyone is looking forward to seeing the exhibition.”

The experience has been fabulous and it’s really given a boost to the young people’s confidence and self-esteem.

Joanne Bowen

Around 80 young people, aged from seven to 19 years, have taken part in the project, which has been led by East Durham Creates in partnership with the Queen Alexandra Road centre.

Adam Richardson, 19 from Dawdon, was among them.

He said: “I participated and I encouraged others to get involved too.
“It made me feel more confident and the sessions were very relaxed and not pressured.

“It’ll be very nice to have our work displayed and it’s good to have friends and family be able to see our artwork on show.”

Among the work on show will be Stuart’s hand crafted neon planet, made using sea glass found on the Seaham coast, and a sculpture by Mick Stephenson, made using plastic bottles and coloured light.

Stuart said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the people of Dawdon to create what will be an exciting collaborative exhibition and event.
“Light really does have the power to change the way we see our everyday and I’m confident our activities will help brighten the way through some gloomy January days.”

Jo added: “There’s no way we could have done this without the support of East Durham Creates. It’s been brilliant to work together and we definitely want to do more art projects in the future – art really has no boundaries.”

The celebration will include a free event on Friday, January 13, with a free event from 4pm to 9pm, including neon performances, art activities, a chance to see the exhibition and to meet the artists.

East Durham Creates aims to increase opportunities for residents of East Durham to get creative and involved in arts and culture. It was first established in 2014 and has already engaged more than 22,000 people in a range of events and activities.

Full details are available at www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk.