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Young Highland artists to benefit from new project to support them during economic impact of Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

By Philip Murray

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Joanne B Kaar
Joanne B Kaar

EMERGING artists are set to receive extra financial support from a Highland arts project in a bid to prevent a talent brain drain amid Covid-19's devastating effect on the industry.

The current coronavirus situation and lockdown has put a huge strain on the arts world, with performances cancelled, venues shut and projects put on hold.

And, in a bid to help support some of those affected, the Highland arts community has come together to provide funding for young people to support them with their creative ambitions.

Today, Highlands Youth Arts Hub (HYAH), a consortium of arts organisations led by Fèis Rois, has launched ‘Creative In Your Community’, a brand new arts fund which offers 18 young artists from across the Highlands the chance to secure £1000 apiece.

This money will be used to support them with a project which will maintain and develop their creativity and inspiration whilst also engaging with their local community.

Each of the 18 artists will also receive three days of mentoring from well-known, successful industry professionals, including renowned Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, filmmaker Thomas Hogben, performance maker Robbie Synge, award-winning visual artist Joanne B Kaar, theatre maker Jenna Watt and Highland writer, Anne MacLeod.

Creative In Your Community is open to young artists, age 16 to 25, across the six art forms – dance, theatre, digital art/film, literature, music and visual art. They will need to either live in, or be originally from the Highlands.

Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive, Fèis Rois, one of the HYAH project partners, commented “The current global pandemic has really hit the arts and cultural sector hard. We have such a rich arts community here in the Highlands and it is under threat at the moment; we cannot risk losing the next generation of talented artists.

"We also recognise that the situation is having a significant impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing so we are hoping that this fund will not only provide the financial support to stay creative, but it will also inspire and motivate young talent here in the Highlands, whilst encouraging them to connect with their local communities.

"We would like to receive applications from creatives who want to connect with other people through the arts, using their art form to give something back to their community whilst also using the project as an opportunity to benefit their long-term aspirations and goals. Given the wealth of talent in the Highlands, we are looking forward to what young artists come up with!"

Applicants must also either be in their final year at school and considering studying their chosen art form in the future, currently in further/higher education in an arts/creative industries discipline, or have recently graduated.

Applicants are asked to come up with a project, involving at least one art form, which engages with their community, collaborates with a professional mentor and perhaps explores some of the challenges faced in Highland communities or around the world today.

Robbie Synge
Robbie Synge

Robbie Synge, project mentor, said: “I am delighted to be a mentor on HYAH's Creative in the Community project. This is the sort of exciting opportunity I would love to have discovered when I first started out in the arts.

"I believe there is huge potential in artists working closely and inclusively with local communities to create encounters and gestures that invite positive reflection and/or action around almost any topic.

"I very much look forward to connecting with an emerging artist and sharing enthusiasm and discussion around their ideas.”

The fund to support emerging artists at this difficult time has been created by the Highland Youth Arts Hub with support from Creative Scotland. The organisations who have collaborated to deliver this project include, Fèis Rois, Moniack Mhor, Eden Court, Highland Print Studio, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Lyth Arts Centre, North Lands Creative, Youth Highland and High Life Highland.

The closing date for applications is July 24 and the successful applicants will be announced on August 7, with the final projects being completed by Christmas.

For more information on how to apply to this fund, please visit https://hyah.co.uk/.

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