In August The Youth Association, in partnership with Getaway Girls, delivered a two-day Arts Experience Challenge. The aim of the project was for young women from the culturally diverse areas of inner-city Leeds to have the opportunity to experience using different art forms and to combine these to create an instillation and/or performance. This was a very challenging prospect for the majority of the young women involved, who had no previous experience of creating art or performing in public.
The types of art forms to be included in the Arts Experience Challenge were decided by a planning group of three young women and a young volunteer from Getaway Girls. This group identified three arts methods they would like to try. These were Dance, Graffiti painting, and Photography.
The young women were initially insecure about expressing their ideas and opinions. However, through group discussion and the encouragement and support of the staff, they were able to identify a theme they wanted their project to revolve around and to collectively make decisions about the structure and content of their performance piece. This included how many dance routines they wanted and could practically achieve in the time frame, the music tracks they would include, where and how the photography would be included and the key messages they wanted their graffiti art to highlight.
Over the course of the two day Challenge, all the young women had the opportunity to experience each type of art and contribute to the group’s final product. Some of the young women were more enthusiastic about one art form than others, and so were encouraged to take a lead in the development of those sections of the piece.
The result of the young women’s imagination and hard work was a fantastic performance in which dance pieces were interspersed with photographic projections set to music, with two large graffiti boards as the backdrop.