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Micro Grant: Local Art Classes

Visual horizons was set up by Darren who wanted to use his experience to enhance creative opportunities for his local community.

In the summer of 2018 Old Trafford resident and college Art teacher Darren Tolliday received a micro grant of £500 to set up drawing classes for the community at the Limelight building in Old Trafford.  Darren’s motivation was to enable local people who may be unfamiliar with formal study environments to unleash their creativity and discover the joy of practicing this most accessible and affordable of art-forms.

The grant enabled Darren to purchase art equipment, subsidise room hire costs, contribute to tutor time, and promote the classes around the neighbourhood.  The response was immediate, with a handful of curious residents participating in a ‘try it… see if you like it’ taster session in the Limelight café.  From here, word spread, and the group grew to regular attract up to 12 aspiring artists weekly- with the mix of age and ethnicity backgrounds reflecting Old Trafford’s diverse community.

The feedback from people who took part really showed how the project was valued.  Local mum Joanna’s enthusiasm was typical: ‘We have learnt so much and practiced different techniques allowing us to develop our skills and express our visions.  We also very much liked spending time with such a group of friendly people. I really wanted my daughters to have professional art teacher and that's what we all experienced during Darren's art sessions”.

Buoyed by such a positive response, Darren is now thinking about next steps- including growing the classes, attracting more men to give it a go (as the attendance during year one was 100% female) and offering a broader range of art techniques.  There is also talk of workshops from the soon-to-be opened OT Creative Space presently emerging from a re-purposed butcher’s shop on Ayres Road.   For the enterprising and creative people of Old Trafford, the sky really is the limit!

A THT Social Investment’s Micro grant of £500 helped set Darren on his way.  Our easy to-access grants are designed to help more enterprising people to get their community initiatives off the ground and to start making money doing what they love. Get in touch if you’ve got something you’d like to do, we are curious to hear from you.   

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