I’ve spent most of this year working on SCAMP – School Contemporary Art Mentoring Program (SCAMP) – with seven amazing colleagues and eight equally amazing high school art students. The idea for SCAMP came to me after I talked with some young people at one of the local high schools. I then collaborated with some of my close art colleagues and the idea for SCAMP was born. I am fully committed to the notion that art, and particularly contemporary art, provides us with the opportunity to explore issues of relevance. Whilst there’s nothing new about art mentoring, the strength of SCAMP is that we offer genuine collaboration and the experience of working as colleagues. This is a marvellous experience for us all and we learn from each other. Our schools teach the technical skills that these kids need. SCAMP is about building on these skills, to then have the conversations and explore the ideas that are important to each of us.
When we started I didn’t expect that all mentoring would happen online. The young people in the four high schools in the Cessnock LGA, have responded bravely and positively to this challenge. They have moved beyond traditional representational artwork to explore new ways of expressing their emotions, identities, fears, frustrations, and joys during these difficult times.
I’ve been privileged to coordinate the program and to meet and get to know so many like-minded people who contribute to the program.
The mentoring will lead to an art exhibition of mentors’ and mentees’ work. Refer www.cessnockcontemporary.com.au to see an early draft of the exhibition catalogue presented here as a work in progress. The final catalogue will be published before the exhibition in December 2021.
My thanks to the NSW Government through CreateNSW and the local Cessnock community for funding support for the program.
Ryan Lewis and his mentor James Nguyen
Ryan Lewis showing James Nguyen his sketch for his Blu-Tak creatures
Ryan Lewis sharing his work with his mentor James Nguyen
Merryn Hull viewing Jada-Lee Stevenson's meticulous note taking
Jada-Lee's sketches just keep coming
This is what upsets me, Jada-Lee Stevenson explaining her ideas
Jada-Lee Stevenson revealing the first sketch of an important work
Sylvia Griffin talks through a range of artists with Noone Khairam
Noone Khairam shows her inspiration from Thailand
Ethan Butcher exploring virtual reality
Elwira Skowronska viewing Edge of the Present with Ethan Butcher
Elwira skowronska discusses Edge of the Present as a mixed reality environment
Ethan and Elwira
Lily Stothard's marvellous self portrait
Lily Stothard showing her quilting to her mentor Tom Isaacs
Meeting up as a team - Mentors Elwira Skowronska and Tom Isaacs with Ethan Butcher and Lily Stothard