Bright Lights switched on for half-term theatre, music, painting and printing at Arts Centre Washington

The best of visual art created by young Wearsiders has opened at Arts Centre Washington.

Bright Lights: Youth Arts Festival is an annual exhibition by people aged 13-25 from across Sunderland who co-produce and run their own cultural events, work with artists and learn new skills.

The festival is supported by Sunderland Culture and curated by the Celebrate Different Collective. The exhibition runs until April 2 and is in the main gallery.

The venue is also hosting a range of events during half-term.

Kai Dixon with one of his pieces on display at Arts Centre Washington.

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    Events include:

    Tuesday, February 22 - Poems of Town, a documentary about the 2021 music project where a group of young people wrote a new EP with Field Music and poet Paul Summers. Wednesday, February 23 - free Bright Lights young artists workshop for youngsters aged 13 or over, followed later by Washington Youth Theatre’s 40-minute self-written play, Little Timmy Starts a Revolution. Thursday, February 24 - Creative Me Workshop, a wellbeing session designed to provide a friendly, creative space to explore painting, printing and collage techniques. Any level of ability is welcome. Friday, February 25, a free songwriting workshop organised by Sunderland Music Hub. Right Track, a group of young musicians and songwriters, will advise 12-and-overs on how to write songs. The music will then be performed at a gig. Saturday, February 26 - free Planet Earth Workshop for families and young people, using recycled materials and led by local artists, raising awareness of the climate crisis.

    One artist whose work is featured this year is Kai Dixon, 17, who is studying for a BTec in digital art at Sunderland College’s Bede Campus.

    Bright Lights at Arts Centre Washington features some first-rate work by young local artists.

    Kai said: “The college encouraged us to submit some of our art to Bright Lights, and I have two digital pieces as part of the exhibition.

    “One of my pieces is called Self Made Man and is about my journey as a transgender man. My second piece, Dysphoria is about how I feel about my body.

    “I’m proud my work is on show and that through my art I can address some of the media misrepresentation about the transgender community.”

    Matt Blyth, audience development officer, at ACW, said: “ We hope as many people as possible will pop along to see what amazing young talent we have on Wearside.”

    Bright Lights at Arts Centre Washington features some first-rate work by young local artists.

    For more details, visit www.sunderlandculture.org.uk.

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    Bright Lights at Arts Centre Washington features some first-rate work by young local artists.
    Bright Lights at Arts Centre Washington features some first-rate work by young local artists.