ART Camp, a school-holiday activity for York's young artists, is developing its reach with a welter of awards and work-experience allocations.
The brainchild of York charity New Visuality and According To McGee gallery directors Greg and Ails McGee, it ran a series of sessions in 2915 that reached more than 100 young artists, focusing heavily on using innovative technology such as 3D prints, and Art Camp will continue this year.
"The calibre of creativity is down to the young people themselves, and also the schools that help nurture them," says Greg McGee. "We've been supported by City of York Council's Shine programme for five to 18 year olds, and York is in a very interesting place at the moment, with its City of Media Arts status.
"Art Camp cannot help but be a place where young people take great pride in harnessing new skills they never thought they'd have. What's especially gratifying is how we've created a system where young people take part and then become ambassadors for Art Camp."
Take Daniel Saywell, for example, who is studying for an Art Diploma at Level 3 at York College. "I first met Daniel when he was seven; he's now 17 and after many Art Camps is a course leader and an exhibited artist. He enthuses our young artists, and only recently he attended a cub scout art competition, choosing the winner," says Greg. "It's a success story that's down to Daniel responding to what's on offer at Art Camp, and is one we hope to replicate this year with Herve Ishimwe Ntwali."
Herve Ishimwe Ntwali on work experience at According To McGee
Herve, a pupil at Millthorpe School, has won a Young Person of the Year prize for his work in last summer's Art Camp, receiving his award at the Lord Mayor of York's Shine Awards at Door 84. "He deserved it; he's an excellent artist who works hard at his craft, and it's led to Herve doing work experience at our gallery," says Greg. "He's been helping to hang exhibitions, he's sold paintings and packaged them. He's a great young man and suits the creative industries perfectly."
Daniel spent a day with Herve at According To McGee, passing on his knowledge of what it is to be a young artist in York's creative scene. Herve was delighted to step up to some challenging roles. "I love art galleries, and my time here has helped me to take more seriously my own art," he says. "I'm going to practise more and I'm looking forward to helping with Art Camp and with exhibitions at the gallery."
Greg is confident of Art Camp's future. "Deeper involvement from the young people helps everyone concerned," he says. "They learn better and quicker if they're given roles of responsibility and have the chance to impart their skills, and the role of ambassador enhances their CV. Daniel has done a great job, and I'm looking forward to working with Herve, and perhaps a small team of others, this year."