Like the rest of the art and culture community in the UK, our best-placed plans were disrupted by the pandemic. We saw the damage and wanted to respond in our own humble way as best as we could. That was when we thought about a programme that would create opportunities through the arts. The Cross Arts Engagement and Regeneration project was born! In this programme we combine diverse art forms, specifically: fine art, storytelling through films, interviews and dance, all while engaging young adults and the entire creative community.
This page is dedicated to the fine art, design, and enterprise segment of the project. In this, we tap into the creativity and enthusiasm of young students. We have engaged young students from the WKC through internship placements to create their own designs based on socially relevant themes with merchandising potential. We aim to connect art and business, with a focus on young adults preparing to start their careers.
This, we hope, will help renew confidence and sense of purpose, which has been battered by the travails of this pandemic, and prepare them for their careers ahead and beyond. From the perspective of businesses, this is an ideal way to engage and give back to the community through internship placements, increasing arts-based employability, skill and work experience, creative outputs on the topics of nature and sustainability, Black Lives Matter, the need to socialise, live theatre and connecting art and entrepreneurship.
Westminster Kingsway College partnered with Abundant Art in September 2020. The partnership was formed to allow students from Westminster Kingsway College (WKC) to gain invaluable employability skills and prepare them for the world of work through two-week placements. The partnership formed during the height of a pandemic, adding extra challenges as all placements had to be adapted to take place in a virtual setting, which was a new way of working for both Abundant Art and the college.
In nine months, Abundant Art have hosted 35 young people from WKC and have played a fundamental part in preparing students for their futures. The 35 students were across different curriculum areas including, Art and Design, Business and Creative Media – and all were given a variety of responsibilities to work on, directly relating to their chosen study programme. The students were part of Abundant Art’s Cross Arts Regeneration Project which was established during the Pandemic to encourage awareness within the Creative Industry, which was unfortunately, one of the Industries to take the biggest hit due to the Coronavirus. The project’s aim was to generate a positive social and environmental impact through different forms of art created by young people.
The Art and Design/ Creative Media students were given the task of creating logo’s and designs based on current social issues. Different groups worked on various themes including Black Lives Matter, Saving Nature and The Importance of Gatherings and Human Interaction (which had great relevance after the national lockdown).
During the two weeks the students were able to understand what it would be like working for a company and the importance of structure, attendance and fulfilling commitments of an employee. The students had to join in on group sessions which consisted of introductions, task allocations, expectations, and presentations. Presenting to a group is often a daunting task for young people, so to have the opportunity to practice these skills is invaluable.
We are now delighted to launch our first exhibition to with the students works. Working on this projects has been challange and joy to successfully opportunity with Protima and Abundant Art has been a challenge, but together we have managed to successfully provide meaningful opportunities to a host of young people while navigating our way through a pandemic. The growth of the project has opened doors for many students, and we look forward to continue to do so.
"My work experience with Abundant Art was amazing. I didn’t think I would like it because it was virtual. I also learnt to work with Ava and Bella which was great!”
“My experience of working with Abundant Art was quite challenging at the start but after some time it became very enjoyable. I picked up some valuable skills along the way such as teamwork and good work ethic.”
“My time with Abundant Art has been a great. This is because it gave me an opportunity to get to know who Abundant Art gallery is. This project allowed me to work well as a team and show off our creative skills.”