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Art programme helps Hackney youth turn billboards into artwork

An art programme will allow children and young adults in Hackney to turn their artwork into billboards this month.

Hackney Young Voices is a project by Play/Space, funded by Arts Council England and Hackney Council, with additional support from Queen Mary University London.

It aims to enhance young people’s creative confidence through workshops and local projects.

Thirty Hackney school children, aged eight to 16, created billboards as an expression of their creative thought and freedom.

Katherine Mengardon, the creative force behind Play/Space and the Hackney Young Voices project, said: “Creative industries are thriving in the UK and young people should have more opportunities to explore these careers in meaningful ways.”

The billboards are displayed at Dalston’s Gillett Square, Stoke Newington station and Clapton Pond.

During the project’s workshops, the children worked alongside profound artist facilitators. 

The filmmaker Wes Anderson, author Anna Kemp and sound artist Wajid Yaseen were present as support for the child artists.

Woody, 13, a participant in the workshops, said: “I started the project for PlaySpace, and suddenly lots of people were looking at my designs. 

“Now my work is part of a big billboard, and my hero Wes Anderson told me he likes my work!

“I feel proud and happy about sharing my creations, and can pursue my dreams working as a graphic novelist and animator.” 

Hackney’s youth, 13-16, are invited to continue attending free drop-in workshops at Shakespeare Walk Adventure Playground Association until 25 August to develop their own creative voices.

Featured image: Hackney Council

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