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New arts charity aims at providing opportunities and raising aspirations for 11-16 year olds
Tracey Emin, I could have Loved my Innocence, 2007. Neon (pale pink), 38.1 × 340.4 × 5.1 cm (15 × 134 × 2. in.) Edition 3 of 3, with 2AP.

LONDON.- The Sixteen Trust, a new arts and education charity aimed at providing opportunities and raising aspirations for 11-16 year olds in deprived parts of the UK, has been founded, and will launch next month with two major exhibitions in London and Margate.

The Sixteen Trust will focus on driving real-world opportunities through the charity’s significant network of arts professionals, believing that the arts have the unique capability to touch all aspects of daily life, and provide young people with opportunities through practical, creative or even scientific pathways.

Education through the arts has the potential to reach into and inform a wide variety of subjects, providing cross-pollination and transferable skills, giving students experiences and hands-on knowledge that could prove invaluable in initiating a variety of interests and, eventually, career paths. It will give long-term support, tied into the school curriculum and in partnership with schools and educators.

The Sixteen Trust will launch with a fundraising exhibition at 10 Hanover in London, running 2 – 8 September 2019. Generously supported by Queens Fine Art, the exhibition will feature works by over 20 Turner Prize nominees, including Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, the sale of which will fund the Sixteen Trust’s mentoring and workshops programme.

The Sixteen Trust will then stage a larger exhibition of former Turner Prize nominees and winners in the Sunshine Café, Margate, near Turner Contemporary, running 13 September – 18 October 2019.

Sunshine Café is an iconic 1930s Grade 2* listed building on Margate’s seafront. The exhibition, titled ‘We Must Cultivate Our Garden’, will be the first time the venue will be open after its closure in 2011 and there is a palpable sense of excitement about this opportunity. In many ways this space represents the former glory of Thanet, and is a great focus for the projects aims and objectives, in driving aspiration and investment in the area. The project is run in partnership with Thanet District Council and Margate Festival.

Founder and Curator Lee Cavaliere says: “To young people growing up in real financial hardship, and experiencing generational unemployment, the benefits of the arts can seem distant and alien. The Sixteen Trust has been founded to practically reach out to these otherwise ostracised children, to vitalise their talents and ideas and help them to realise their potential, and most of all, to help them understand the real value that they have, to their community and to our broader culture.“

Mentoring will be offered in person and online, via one-to-one sessions and video, with print and other resources. The aim is to provide a long-term, cohesive and comprehensive support to children, throughout and beyond their secondary education, using a network of successful, relatable and approachable individuals, who were themselves once in the UK schooling system.

Current schools partners include Hartsdown Academy, King Ethelbert Schools in Thanet, and Goodwin Academy in Deal. The potential for adding value to the curriculum is huge. Matt Tate, Head of Hartsdown Academy, says: “The opportunity that is being afforded to us by The Sixteen Trust is potentially lifechanging for our students; the impact that being part of this project will have on our students will be phenomenal and hopefully foster in them the confidence and skills needed to encourage them to take on the mantle of the next generation of great, British artists.”

Mentors brought on board so far include: Helen Lovett-Johnson, costume designer for the recent Royal Ballet production of Cinderella; Mikei Hall, head technician at Tate Britain; Amanda Grey, art lawyer and partner at Mishcon de Reya; and a host of set designers, filmographers, art technicians, curators, fashion designers and dance choreographers.

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