An ART HUB update – A Creative Endeavour That’s Picking Up SpeedSeptember 25, 2020
At the start of September we published a piece about mixed media artist Stacey Dallyn and her Creative Endeavour, the youth arts therapy programme ART HUB. Over the past month, Stacey and her team have been working with Opus and community services agency, PLEA, running a series of skateboard design workshops with sixty youths-at-risk. Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, things are going well. We caught up with her, alongside programme coordinator and digital marketer, Katrin Shein, to find out more.
Stacey’s keen to tell us that since our last chat, they’ve been speaking with industry giants Thrasher Magazine. Through this new connection, professional skaters are getting involved, a success she believes stems from the fact they’re doing something completely unique.
‘I think we’re coming at this from a different perspective than anyone’s ever had. I know that’s a really bold statement, but there’s no right or wrong when it comes to art. It’s not specific therapy. No one has a pen and paper. You’re not being evaluated. You’re kind of free to do whatever. And that’s when conversation starts. Plus the skateboards are a medium the youth understand. It is a framework. We do it by bringing in products like paint cans and spray paint, which are mediums of their art.’
These are exciting times and moving forward, expansion’s in the air. ‘The more people we talk to about this, the more they’re behind us. We received a big donation of used skateboards and we’re sending them down to some artists to raise more awareness about what we’re doing. You can take this idea anywhere – all you need is a board, some pens and some paint. Give a kid a skateboard and they’ll understand the concept of it.’
Like any Creative Endeavour, the initial execution is just the start. Success and growth stem from generating interest and Katrin begins to explain what ART HUB’s doing to spread the word. ‘We’re having a lot of conversations with a lot of different groups. Every day there’s something new. There’s someone new who wants to be a part of this.’
When we press for details, Stacey jumps in. ‘My former job was as a fashion editor. To be an editor is to find talent, grow talent, showcase talent. This skill set is being applied to ART HUB. In a sense, we’re just creating editorials. If you look at skateboarding, the skateboards go out to the youth and they create them. We have an e-commerce website which should be live by next week and we are asking artists to create boards that are going up for auction. A lot of other places are starting to reach out to us because we’re getting noticed and our social media profile is spreading too.’
Eventually they envision ART HUB becoming ‘a bit like an alternative Arts Umbrella’: a place for youth to develop self-esteem – a nurturing, creative environment, supporting young people to reach their full potential.
Stacey describes how they plan on getting there. “We have to see how we can expand into more mediums. I imagine skateboarding will move into X, Y, Z and we’ll just keep growing. Our ultimate goal is to have a big space, where the kids can create all different forms of art which we then market for them. We’re currently looking for somewhere to lease but in the short term, we plan to sell off the website.”
Accessing participants isn’t easy, as Stacey is quick to admit. ‘We’re still trying to figure out how we can do it safely.’ One route is through the skate shops and skating community. Both are extremely supportive, functioning as epicentres and meeting spots for many target youth. ART HUB also hopes to gain referrals through some of the local institutions teaching expressive arts, as well as developing existing relationships with Take A Hike Foundation and YWCA. ‘We’re learning fast. There are so many resources and so many incredibly talented youth workers who want to connect dots. It definitely feels like we’re rising up to and beginning to overcome the challenges.’
Until recently, Stacey was financing everything herself but they’re now registered as non-profit and are about to be granted charitable status. ‘That’s when we can go after our grants,’ she explains. Things are currently ticking along with some backing Kat managed to obtain and the pair are confident they’re in line to receive more. In the meantime Stacey concludes, ‘I’m going to fund the work until we can fly. I really, really believe in this.’
Inspired to design your own skateboard? Check out our skateboard decks here.
We’ll be hearing more from ART HUB alongside other voices in our next Creative Lives podcast, coming soon! The audible feature will explore different ways artists survive and realise their Creative Endeavours – expressing themselves, remaining true to vision and medium whilst surmounting the commercial pressure of getting work seen and sold.
Click on the link for more information on Art Hub