Two Postgraduate Design students have taken a prime spot in an exhibition after getting involved in a project to help troubled teenagers. Angela Rogers and Richard Keating used their passion for drawing to develop the youngsters' creativity and self-esteem, as part of their MA in Drawing as Process studies.
They took part in the Street Sense scheme, run in conjunction with the St George's Pupil Referral Unit in Cheltenham, to encourage the teenagers to express their feelings through drawing. Funded by a £4,700 grant from Southern Arts, the two-month project involved a gradual process of teaching the youngsters about drawing as a form of communication.
Some of the work went on display in an exhibition called 'Drawing - The Process' at the Stanley Picker Gallery last month. The exhibits are a partnership between Angela, Richard and the teenagers. "They were encouraged to send us photographs of their neighbourhoods and we would send drawings back to them through the post based on our impressions of the area," Angela said. "The teenagers would then send their own drawings of the area back to us, so, in essence, we had a conversation through drawing."
The exhibition showed the process involved in drawing, from the starting point to the end product. It was a proud moment for the Street Sense team when their work was hung alongside that of established artists such as BAFTA winning animator Joanna Quinn and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes. "It is one of the most fantastic projects I have been involved in," Angela said. "I found it immensely fascinating and challenging. "It was very rewarding and I was impressed by the way the teenagers' work improved over time."
Director of the MA course and joint-organiser of the exhibition Leo Duff praised the efforts of the two part-time students. "It was great to see their work included in the exhibition," Leo said. "Their contribution is significant because of their work with the teenagers, who had experienced difficulties at school, and success of the use of drawing rather than words as a means of communication."