Making an art out of business

ARTS COURSE: from left, Dr Karen Parry, chief executive at Grace House, Fiona McKeown from the Cultural Spring and Cheryl Gavin from Helix Arts.
ARTS COURSE: from left, Dr Karen Parry, chief executive at Grace House, Fiona McKeown from the Cultural Spring and Cheryl Gavin from Helix Arts.
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A UNIQUE training course aims to create a team of managers able to organise and run community arts projects in South Tyneside.

The Make Art Happen programme will start early this month and teach course participants how to develop and run a community arts initiative.

The course is ideal for community or voluntary organisations with an interest in developing the skills of their staff and volunteers to deliver their own art programme.

Cheryl Gavin, senior project manager at Helix Arts

The eight weekly sessions will lead toward the delivery of a paid-for project designed, organised and run by those on the course.

Make Art Happen is being delivered by Helix Arts on behalf of the Cultural Spring, an Arts Council-funded project working to increase participation in the arts on Wearside and South Tyneside.

Cheryl Gavin, senior project manager at Helix Arts, said: “This is the third such course we’ve run and they’re proving very popular.

“We spend eight weeks looking at teaching and developing the skills needed to run a community arts project. It will include specific modules such as artist recruitment, marketing, financial control, production, evaluation, fundraising and sustainability.

“The participants will then get the chance to put their skills to the test in real-life as the Cultural Spring will invest £2,500 into the group’s chosen project.

“The course is ideal for community or voluntary organisations with an interest in developing the skills of their staff and volunteers to deliver their own art programme.

“It isn’t rigidly formulaic, we’ll adapt it to take into account specific community needs.”

The course starts at HOPS, the Quaker House, 30 Roker Park Road, Sunderland, on Wednesday, May 6, at 6pm and costs £25 for each participant.

Fiona McKeown, deputy director at the Cultural Spring said: “All we ask is that participants have a basic understanding of the arts, the motivation to help communities develop art opportunities, the ability to attend the sessions and a willingness to play a role in a team throughout the training.

“We’re sure the element of having a project to work on will bring a degree of motivation and real-life learning to the course.”

One of those who’ve already signed up for the course is Dr Karen Parry, the new chief executive of Grace House, in Sunderland.

She said: “It’s my intention to have an artist in residence at Grace House, so this course sounded perfect to give me the skills and focus to think about that and other artistic projects at Grace House.

“We’d like to get our young people producing their own artwork, and look at some sculptures for our beautiful gardens, so there are plenty of opportunities.

“I think the mix of different people and different ideas on the course will be very creative and hopefully we’ll spark off each other and come up with an engaging, meaningful project we can all enjoy working on.”

For more information and to sign up to the course, speak to Fiona on 07501 725331 or email fiona.mckeown@theculturalspring.org.uk

The 10 Cultural Spring wards are Castletown, Red House, Southwick, Fulwell and Roker/St Peter’s wards in Sunderland, and Biddick Hall and All Saints, Boldon, Cleadon, Whitburn/Marsden and Whiteleas in South Tyneside.

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