Art pro­ject lands £50,000

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­

A COM­MU­NITY art stu­dio sup­port­ing schools across Lochaber has re­ceived a cash wind­fall of al­most £ 50,000.

Room 13 In­ter­na­tional in Caol was awarded £49,490 from the Big Lot­tery Young Start Fund to sup­port its new Gen­er­a­tion Cre­ative pro­ject.

The char­ity hopes that the money will help ex­tend the pro­ject’s reach to chil­dren who are not cur­rently able to ac­cess the Room 13 fa­cil­i­ties.

Fiona Macdon­ald from Room 13 said: ‘The money gives us sta­bil­ity to keep our con­tract run­ning for our two artists, which is very im­por­tant, and al­lows us to de­velop what we are do­ing.’

The Gen­er­a­tion Cre­ative pro­ject will en­able Room 13’s lead artist, Richard Bracken, to work with chil­dren and var­i­ous con­tribut­ing artists to de­velop a pro­gramme of de­liv­ery for pri­mary and high school stu­dents.

Ms Macdon­ald said: ‘We are aware that Room 13 needs to reach fur­ther afield, so we want to link up with other schools in out­ly­ing ar­eas. We are look­ing to cre­ate re­la­tion­ships with other pri­mary and high schools to make Room 13 ac­ces­si­ble to more chil­dren to cre­ate the next gen­er­a­tion of young artists.

‘We will be look­ing at how we can best reach young peo­ple so there is an op­por­tu­nity for con­trib­u­tors fur­ther afield to get in­volved and join the team.’

Dur­ing the pro­ject, Room 13 will work with 10 pri­mary schools in the Lochaber area to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to work along­side pro­fes­sional artists on cre­ative projects. They will also de­velop and ex­tend the youth vol­un­teer group for peo­ple aged 13 to 21 to in­volve stu­dents from the four high schools in the area.

Room 13 chief ex­ec­u­tive Claire Gibb said: ‘The sup­port from Big Lot­tery pro­vides a wel­come boost to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and is a re­ally valu­able in­vest­ment in Lochaber’s Room 13 stu­dios.

‘It will al­low us de­velop key as­pects of our work with schools and young peo­ple at a time when there is more de­mand than ever for the sort of ser­vices our artists and stu­dios can de­liver, with less and less pro­vi­sion to sup­port this work.

‘The Room 13 team is look­ing for­ward to get­ting Gen­er­a­tion Cre­ative un­der way.’

One of the many schools to ben­e­fit from the Room 13 fa­cil­i­ties is St Columba’s Pri­mary School in Fort Wil­liam, which shares a cam­pus with Caol Pri­mary School.

Speak­ing to The Oban

Times, head teacher Vi­o­let Smith said: ‘The chil­dren work on art projects, phi­los­o­phy and learn about artists. The kids can also take school pic­tures, de­sign post­cards and put to­gether small pub­li­ca­tions.’

St Columba’s has worked with the or­gan­i­sa­tion for the past 14 years and Ms Smith said that it is very pupil-led. ‘It’s re­ally good for the chil­dren be­cause it in­creases con­fi­dence. They can be­come com­mit­tee mem­bers and be in­volved in de­ci­sion mak­ing,’ added Ms Smith.

‘It’s great for kids who are maybe in­tro­verted, or who you wouldn’t normally ex­pect to see stand up and talk in front of the class, be­cause once they have been to Room 13 they be­come more con­fi­dent in them­selves and their class work.’

Fiona Macdon­ald with Richard Bracken and Gra­cie Hen­der­son, Robert Gosling, Katie Robert­son and Kaci Hatch.

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