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Pandemic experience explored by young artists in new exhibition

YOUNG artists explore the experience and emotions of living through the Covid pandemic in a new exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Creative Youth
Artist Emilie Taylor worked with students at Ashlawn School to create ceramics inspired by the emotions and experience of living through the Covid pandemic. Published Monday, 26th July 2021

Creative Youth showcases works made by young people in the borough during a range of arts projects which aimed to support mental health and wellbeing through creativity.

The exhibition features ceramics created by students at Ashlawn School during workshops organised by the Art Gallery and Museum's learning and outreach team.

The workshops were led by artist Emilie Taylor, who hosted the recent May Day, May Day, May Day exhibition at the Art Gallery and fuses contemporary narratives with the traditional craft of slipware.

Emilie helped students explore the emotions of lockdown and living in a Covid world, inspiring ceramics which tell personal stories and capture snapshots of the pandemic experience.

Illustrator Emily Honey secured a Community Projects Grant from Rugby Borough Council to hold a series of workshops at the Hill Street Youth and Community Centre, where young people were encouraged to find a voice through illustration.

The workshops aimed to improve mental health and wellbeing by inviting participants to tell a personal story through illustration, experimenting with branding and projecting personality through art.

Pieces from Emily's workshops feature in Creative Youth, together with work created by students at Rugby Free Secondary School during the Keep The Ball Rolling project, which was supported by the Art Gallery and Museum's arts development team.

Keep The Ball Rolling encouraged students to explore the emotions which were fuelled by the uncertainties of lockdown and the unknowns of the pandemic, with pieces ranging from a sign inspired by contemporary artist, Bob and Roberta Smith, to photographs.

Photographs and artworks submitted to the Creative Lockdown Youth Challenge, organised by Rugby's Rotary Clubs, also feature in Creative Youth, together with illustrations created for Better Faces In My Time, a community project supported by the Art Gallery and Museum which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and support wellbeing through creativity.

Sally Godden, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's senior learning and outreach officer, said: "We have all faced challenges and experienced a range of emotions during the pandemic, and young people have been forced to spend time indoors, isolated from friends and inactive, instead of sharing the experience of living, learning and exploring the world.

"The arts offer an outlet for all the emotions experienced while living through a once-in-a-century pandemic, from loneliness and fear to hope and relief, and the projects which have taken place in Rugby have given young people a much-need opportunity to explore both personal and collective experiences through creativity."

Creative Youth opens at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's Floor One Gallery tomorrow (Saturday 24 July) and runs until Thursday 5 August.

Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for leisure and wellbeing, said: "Promoting the health benefits of the arts plays a vital role in Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's work, and the Covid pandemic has provided the backdrop for a range of workshops which have all aimed to give young people a voice through the arts, exploring emotions which can often be difficult to talk about.

"Creative Youth not only underlines the importance of the Art Gallery and Museum's work, but also showcases the young artistic talent we have in the borough.

"I am proud of the young people of Rugby who spend their leisure time producing original works of art."

For more information about exhibitions and events at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, visit

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