Please introduce yourself and your Arts Award experience.
I'm Finn Kelly and I took my Gold Arts Award in graffiti and video at Sage Gateshead.
What art forms did you take part in and why?
For my Arts Award I did graffiti mural work for the majority of my project. I also participated in a volunteer placement at Sage Gateshead working with the Programme Leader as well as working with the Music Sparks project (music for young people with Learning Difficulties).
I worked at the Music Spark show, learning about event programming, what it's like to be backstage at productions and also some tech. I was also able to meet with the Marketing team and gain some insight into promotion/marketing for a large scale arts organisation. I also made a short video as part of my Arts Award.
What events did you attend?
I went to Tech Styles 5, a breakdance event in Bradford. Actually, I was asked to be an artist at this too, and it was interesting both being part of the programme as well as reviewing it for my Arts Award.
Furthermore I went to a number of different hiphop/graffiti events to help my research and event reviewing skills.
Which artists helped to inspire your Gold Arts Award journey?
Mark Shields (the arts practitioner I interviewed) helped me realise and understand how much work and effort that needs to be put into a job when working as a freelancer. I feel like our interview helped prepare me for later life and what roles/jobs I will need to do when working as a self-employed artist.
How did you share your skills and lead an arts project?
I organised a legal graffiti public mural with artists from Newcastle and Leeds. I created the concept, the colour scheme, completed a risk assessment, a budget and communicated with the artists. I was also involved in the organisation of a local graffiti event, where I created the promotion/flyer design and some logistical work.
I have been developing my skills as a graffiti artist through preparing and painting different murals throughout the course of the arts project. All my research and findings were implemented and added into my paintings and pieces each time.
For the organisational side of the Arts Award, I have learned how to gather all the essential materials and skills in order to organise an event and have it run smoothly without any major hiccups. The Arts Award project, with the help my tutor of Paul Martin, has led me to feel comfortable in organising other events, and feel confident that all the new skills I've learned will lead to a successful project.
What particularly struck and inspired you about your Arts Award?
I found the organisation and event management skills extremely valuable to me personally as I want to start hosting and creating events similar to the project during my Arts Award.
Secondly, seeing all the positive feedback come through about my award motivated me to continue with event organisation and planning. Organising graffiti events is something I'd like to be able to do in the future when I'm older and my dream is to have artists from all over the world come and paint at my event.
What did you find challenging during your project?
I found the most challenging element throughout the Arts Award and event planning was getting all artists together at the same time so that the event could proceed. Having people show up to an event at the same time is a hard task, and having to be constantly on your phone to keep in contact was very challenging in my opinion.
What's next for you?
I am hopefully going to go on to create and organise my own events in my own time, to build and develop skills as an event planner.
Arts Award has definitely helped me learn about arts event management, including what needs to happen for an event to run smoothly. No doubt this has given me practical and creative skills to do this type of work in the future.
How did you get involved in Arts Award?
Paul Martin suggested it to me as an additional qualification. Because I planned to go to university, the UCAS points would be helpful. I'm now starting an art course at Leeds University this September!
If you have completed an Arts Award and would like to be profiled too, join our Arts Award Alumni and let us know about your experience.