The 9to90 Creative Community Initiative was devised to reach creative’s that might not even know they ARE creative! The challenge was set by Fusion Swansea for GS Artists to devise a project especially for those that wouldn’t normally visit a gallery. The aim was to create an exhibition with a similar standard that we maintained as a professional gallery. Community art is so often marginalized, in venues with bad lighting, or not displayed well.
So 9to90 was born, the idea based on popular tv talent show formats. An open submission, free to enter competition with lots of categories, so that everyone could feel part of it. To date we have exhibited all the works entered, over 450 in total. To make it as inclusive as possible we have 4 age groups with 3 prizes per age group- it’s vital to us that everyone feels celebrated. The judges are carefully picked, experts in their field and well known in the local community. The categories are; Painting, Drawing, Craft, Prose and Poetry, Photography, and a very special ‘Paint a Portrait Category’ in 2018 it was Peter Blake, and in in 2019 it was Michael Sheen. 2020 see’s Rob Brydon as subject, to be judged by his parents.
All of the categories have been explored in workshops, which gives the opportunity to explore making artworks to enter into the open submission show. Over 35% of the entries are created through these workshops, with free materials and tuition, and continued support in framing and display.
An extensive sharing of information via our collaborative partners and their mailing lists has helped us reach over 340 participants. These partners include- Swansea City Council, Coastal Housing, Fusion Wales and Volcano Theatre. Through our feedback forms we discovered that 40% have never been to a gallery let alone exhibited at one.
The organisations involved in 9to90 over the last 2 years have included Dylan Thomas Community School, Ffynnone House School , St Helen’s Primary School, Gower College, Lifelong Art Class, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Crisis Swansea, Gowerton Primary, Sew Swansea, and Swansea Community Workshop.