Auction of works by young artists set to raise vital funds

Budding artists Fern and Melissa with Turner nominee Callum Innes
Budding artists Fern and Melissa with Turner nominee Callum Innes
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Stocking up on art supplies? Make sure you don’t forget the hairdryers and catapults.

They may not seem like obvious entrants on a budding Botticelli’s shopping list, but children at The Yard in Edinburgh have been utilising these and a lot more besides – including painting “pendulums” made from plastic cola bottles, and painting wheels – to create their own works of art.

Their works, along with others created by some more familiar names from the art world, are set to be auctioned on Thursday in a bid to raise money for the centre for children with additional support needs, whose government funding only covers just over ten per cent of its annual requirements.

Celine Sinclair, chief executive of The Yard, said: “We run art workshops throughout the year and fundraise constantly to keep our art room well stocked and our artworker in a post.

“As well as being fun, art has clear therapeutic benefits and is a great way for parents and carers to engage with their children – particularly those who are non verbal. We held a celebration of the children’s art work last year and were thrilled when it raised £1000.

“Then we hit upon the idea of getting some ‘professional’ artists in this year. We have a lot of links within the community and once people started asking around we were amazed at the calibre of artists who wanted to help. We’ve been very lucky.”

For the past 25 years a team of professional play workers and volunteers have worked together to create a fun, safe and stimulating atmosphere at The Yard for children and young people with additional support needs, including youngsters with severe mobility problems.

In 2011, the facilities were used by more than 1500 young people over the course of 10,000 visits.

With plenty to do both outside and inside, children who come to The Yard are encouraged in a variety of ways to develop their imagination, confidence and independence. They are also helped to foster their own friendships and curiosities.

Arts and crafts are always popular, with youngsters given the chance to try their hand at activities such as painting, screenprinting, jewellery making, ceramics, comic making, T-shirts printing and video editing.

One of The Yard’s young arists, Melissa, said: “I like the picture we saw. I love arts and crafts and sticking. I think it’s funny that other people want our pictures. The Yard makes me feel nice.”

Thursday’s auction will see the fruits of some of these classes silently auctioned, along with paintings by Edinburgh resident and Turner prize nominee Callum Innes, Jolomo, a Glaswegian artist best known for creating a First Minister’s Christmas card later auctioned for £10,000, and David Schofield, a former recipient of the City of Glasgow Award from The Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. There will also be works by local artists, including Anna Constantinou, Duncan Robertson, Michael Bergin, Lucille Michie and Arran Ross.

Mr Innes said: “I have always found that the children and young people who play at The Yard have endless amounts of energy and are full of creativity and spirit.”