Young people choose Jess to help transform Ventnor shop into space for music and creativity
At a recent Dragons Den selection process, young people from the Ventnor-based creative platform Brave Island chose musician and artist Jess Ong to help them transform an empty shop into a creative space for young people in the town.
How the space is developed will be decided by the young people, working with Jess, in a genuine co-production.
“I am so excited to have been chosen by the young people to support them in this project,” says Jess. “I have seen first-hand how giving young people the opportunity to learn new skills and be creative in a safe and inclusive environment can help them build their confidence, make new friends and connections, and set them on a healthier and happier path of life.
“With my eclectic experience in music, art and heritage workshops, I hope to be able to encourage the Brave Island participants to follow their passions, and help them bring to life their ideas for the vacant shop. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!”
The month-long transformation, taking place through March 2023, will be the third, place-changing commission to be launched on the Isle of Wight as part of the Artswork-funded Supporting Young Minds programme, connecting young people with their communities and the IW Biosphere.
The Sandown and Lake Youth Forum, supported by Community Action Isle of Wight and working with filmmaker Bruce Webb, premiered its film about the challenges and benefits of living in the Bay area as a young person earlier this month. Meanwhile the Newport Youth Forum, based at Independent Arts, is busy creating an art trail around Newport, working with artist Laura Hathaway.
“The Supporting Young Minds project is a really important one, which shows just how much of a positive impact creativity can have on young people’s mental health, so we’re really excited to be involved!” says Brave Island producer Megan Stisted. “We can’t wait to bring the young creatives involved together in the space, and see how they decide to transform the shop.”
“I am really excited about this new Supporting Young Minds project – not least because it’s so different from the other two,” adds Peta Rainford, programme manager at Independent Arts. “It’s also great to bring new partners into the project, and I look forward to working with Brave Island and Ventnor Exchange.”
Supporting Young Minds is managed by Independent Arts, on behalf of The Island Collection and the Isle of Wight CEP, in collaboration with Artswork (Southampton). It is part of a larger region-wide programme supporting young people’s mental health through creativity.
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