Young people express LGBT experience through their art

This story was published 11 June 2018

The first art created in a county-wide project working with vulnerable groups of young people will be displayed at the Harrogate Pride in Diversity celebration on 16 June.

unicorn banner

The One Community Project is an initiative of Connecting Youth Culture (CYC), the specialist arts team that is part of North Yorkshire County Council’s commercial North Yorkshire Education Services. The project is supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.

CYC is working with several groups across the county, including travellers, refugees, young carers and victims and perpetrators of hate crime to create art that gives voice to their diversity and identities. The results of their efforts will be exhibited locally before being united in a single exhibition later this year.

The first work to be displayed comes from a group of about 15 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) young people aged between 13 and 18 from Harrogate, Selby and surrounding areas. They have created a variety of works, including rainbow stencils, a unicorn banner that will provide a backdrop to the main music stage during the Pride celebration and graffiti art featuring two gender-neutral characters and messages about individuality and uniqueness.

Members of the group have also written prose and poetry about the experience of coming out. Lines from this work will be chalk-sprayed throughout the Valley Gardens during the celebration and the work will be on display at the CYC tipi during Pride, when visitors will be able to see more art and take part in stencil-making and circus skills workshops.

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, executive member for children’s services, said: “This project brings together young people to celebrate their different cultures and individual identities. Through their own creativity they are producing art that challenges stigma and stereotypes and explores the effects of prejudicial attitudes and actions.”

Julia Mulligan, elected Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “It’s important we make it clear that hate crime - in any form and against anyone, of any age - will not be tolerated in North Yorkshire. This project recognises the diversity of which we are proud and the intolerance we won’t accept. I am proud to be able to support the project.

“If anyone has suffered a crime motivated by hatred, my message is that there is help available. Don’t suffer in silence - report it to the police or directly to the supporting victims team who can also provide advice and support.”

The Pride in Diversity celebration begins with a parade through Harrogate followed by a party in the Valley Gardens.