Saturday 26th January saw our first official get together on the street art project we are coordinating for Sussex Police and Frank Communications.
The aim of the project is to build better relationships between the police and young people and to tackle the challenging topic of domestic abuse – specifically raising awareness of the topic – and thinking about how we can do this through a street art mural. A creative community message I guess you could say.
17 kids turned up, 2 artists, 3 more of us from Wet Paint, a representative of the Police Communications Dept plus a PC, a PCOS and DCS (those last 3 are police folk for those unfamiliar with the much loved Police Force acronyms).
We congregated at Brighton Youth Centre at 10.00am and kicked off with a presentation to introduce Wet Paint Productions, our team and artists, and to learn more about why domestic abuse is high on the radar for our regional police teams. Police representatives talking to 12-15 year olds on this topic was never going to be a jolly jamboree style affair, but after the more formal presentation session, the Wet Paint team pursued the discussion informally throughout the day to try and capture their thoughts and translate them into ideas for the mural. As always, were surprised and impressed with the insight young people demonstrate on a subject most adults squirm away from. But then this was always kind of the point.
We not only managed to get all 17 kids expressing their creativity on a nice big wall, but we also placed spray paint into the hands of the police too. I think they were slightly apprehensive, but then I would be too with over a dozen young people whipping up a storm of aerosol fumes and designing characters like the Bart and Homer Simpson hybrid. Fairly bonkers stuff, but fantastic to see.
Our artists, Seth and Daryl did a sterling job on channelling their enthusiasm, demonstrating and teaching can control skills, fuelling their imagination, inspiring designs and basically supporting the entire crew for a solid few hours. Even when the temperature started to drop, we had to tear the group away from the wall and their creations. I think we even ran out of paint.
Big up to Charlie Allsebrook too, our Community and Projects Manager, who just has a knack of working with young people. She managed to extract and capture some great feedback from the group on what they thought domestic abuse is, where they might go for help, or get more information, and what emotions it might provoke. Not your average Saturday afternoon kind of chat, but very important to the success of this project.
We look forward to seeing how the ideas are translated into a design for our live paint on 9th February.
Watch this space.
You can ‘Like’ Wet Paint Productions on Facebook and see more photos from this workshop here: https://www.facebook.com/wetpaintproductions
To find out more about the Sussex Police Domestic Abuse campaign, click here.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic abuse, click here for more information and for details of who to talk to.