SAA Bursary 2012

As always this year we received some inspirational entries for our SAA Bursary competition. We awarded ten prizes in total, and here we tell you the stories of three of the winners.

How to enter for the 2013 SAA Bursary
If you’d like to apply for one of the 2013 Bursary awards the scheme is open to all SAA members whose goal is to inspire and teach others to paint.

To find out more click here or call 0800 980 1123.

Phil Strevens was awarded this year’s main £250 SAA Bursary, for the work he has been doing with The Yard Project in Lowestoft. This was established in 2006 to work with the local community, particularly young people aged 16 to 24 who find it hard to get involved in education, work or training. “One of The Yard’s primary aims is to encourage community participation,” explains Phil.

Arts and craft activities have been running there for a long time, but my groups started in the last year. “My aim is for each student to achieve a standard that they didn't think they could reach. I believe that self esteem and confidence come through challenging yourself and achieving results. The participants in my courses gain a sound knowledge of pastel art and I gently nudge them into unfamiliar territory.

The most rewarding part of teaching these groups is watching people progress from saying “I can't do that, there's no way I can do that,” to “I did that and so can you!“ Phil was delighted when he heard he’d won a Bursary. “I think we all enter our applications with the attitude ‘you have to be in it to win it’ but never really think we might,”

He says. “The money will be used to purchase art materials. Through the Yard project we aim to reach people who would normally miss out on arts and crafts, so with this in mind I intend to set up a pop-up workshop which I will take to other local venues and run short courses.

This will help reach more people in their own area. Many of my students face different challenges when starting a new activity, from confidence to access, cost or travel. I intend to reduce some of these challenges with the pop up workshops.”

Phil with some of his students

Geraldine lives in Suffolk and has recently started running workshops at the Trimley Methodist Church Hall, in Trimley St Martin. Since suffering head and spinal injuries in a car crash 20 years ago, she has had ME and fibromyalgia, but her love of art and music helped her to cope with the turn her life had taken. “I understand how people feel who are shut off, or can’t cope,” she says. “The last 20 years have given me experience in coping myself, and with my many years’ of teaching experience I want to be able to help others too.”

Geraldine lives in Suffolk and has recently started running workshops at the Trimley Methodist Church Hall, in Trimley St Martin. Since suffering head and spinal injuries in a car crash 20 years ago, she has had ME and fibromyalgia, but her love of art and music helped her to cope with the turn her life had taken. “I understand how people feel who are shut off, or can’t cope,” she says. “The last 20 years have given me experience in coping myself, and with my many years’ of teaching experience I want to be able to help others too.”

Geraldine ran her first art workshop earlier this year, and made good use of SAA books by the likes of Geoff Kersey and Noel Gregory, whose reusable tracings proved popular with students. She has since run and is planning several more, and offers students themed sessions or the chance to do their own art all day without interruptions. “I have created an atmosphere where people can come and paint and just take time out for themselves,” she explains. “Relax, have fun with their work, meet new and old friends, or just work on their own.

Even newcomers can feel part of the day and leave knowing they have achieved something and wanting to come back again. The workshops are portable in that I can take the subject matter to other art groups who are interested in having a go, or groups who are looking for a therapy activity.” In the past Geraldine has not been able to expand her art sessions because she was using her own paint, brushes and paper, but winning the Bursary will change all that.

“I would love to have more books for people to use, and a good supply of various media to experiment with and use, brushes, paper and various accessories and large folders to carry works and illustrations,” she says.

Kaye Jones was awarded a £100 Bursary for the art club she has started in her local community in Brecon. She wanted to offer particular support to those suffering with long-term illness, bereavement or redundancy. “I feel people need their confidence boosted, or restored after experiencing a shock or loss,”

She says. “I let them choose what to paint and there is no set course as such, because I find that people who have never tried to paint before get good results from going straight in and letting the colour flow, then go home so pleased with what they’ve achieved.” Kaye gives her tutoring for free and finances the club, so winning the bursary was an added bonus.

“First on my shopping list are brushes, they take a lot of punishment from inexperienced painters!” she says. “Then practice paper and paints, all bare essentials. I am told that I am an excellent teacher, who is enthusiastic and patient, and for the future I’d like to increase the number of members. Above all I want to head an art club that is positive, inspirational and fun!”

Awards for £100 go to several runners-up this year, including Geraldine Stevenson-Patey and Kaye Jones.

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