SYM – Ryde
About the project
At a launch day based at Monkton Arts, young people explored the neglected and unloved spaces of Ryde with artist Jenna Sabine and outdoor educator Ian Boyd. They were asked to consider how creativity could be used to make Ryde a better place for young people to live, as well as encouraging them to be more physically activity and increase engagement with the Isle of Wight Biosphere.
Based on their priorities, a call-out to artists was written, and a shortlist of three was invited to pitch at a Dragons’ Den selection process at Network Ryde, where cartoonist and artist Gareth Bloomfield (Gaz) was selected.
Gaz and the young people jointly developed their ‘story’ for the project: ‘what if the Earth is fed up with us not looking after it? So it sends monsters to keep an eye on us! It’s up to us to keep them happy…’
They came up with several possible creative outputs including Biosphere-inspired designs for bins; QR codes linking to environmental messaging; and giant monster eyes to be sited in shop windows!
They explored these themes using various media, including drawing and painting and digital media. Initially they worked on their designs for bins in central Ryde and mapped the locations of the bins they wanted to transform. Unfortunately approaches for permissions to add their designs the bins were not successful (at least within the timeframe available), so they had to adapt their plans.
“I really enjoying working with the young people and seeing their creativity spark. All the young people have really embraced the project and it’s awesome seeing them try new things with materials they are not familiar with.”Project artist Gaz Bloomfield
The young people worked collaboratively, painting large boards to ‘house’ the monster eyes with moveable eyeballs to keep watch on people who pass by the shop window at Network Ryde on Ryde High Street.
Instead of the bin designs, the young people were given permission by Ryde Town Council to decorate and plant up planters in Eastern Gardens, using plants kindly donated by Haylands Farm. Each young person worked independently with Gaz to develop their own design digitally. Gaz produced vinyls of each design, which the young people designed themselves.
The young people said that being part of this project:
- has made them more connected with (83% agreed with this)
- has made them happier (100% agreed with this)
- has made them more confident (83% agreed with this)
- has taught them new skills (66% agreed with this)
“I hope it makes people feel happy as young people have done something good for the town.”
“Hopefully it will make people appreciate the natural world a bit more and throw their rubbish away sensibly to protect nature.”
“I hope it will help people change how they feel about Ryde.”Participants of the project
Supporting Young Minds Ryde was generously funded by HIWCF