My Experience of Arts Awards

My journey of achieving my Arts Award began in 2009, when I was 12. I’d heard about it through my school, and the mention of words like ‘fashion’ and ‘art’ caught my interest as I was very creative and enjoyed the art subjects at school. I signed up, and after paying the minuscule fee (for the external moderation) and with the amazing guidance from my arts leader, Kerry, I started working towards my Bronze Arts Award.

The first day was slightly nerve-wracking, being in a room with strangers, but knowing that we all shared a common interest, that we were eager to learn and passionate about the arts made it easier for us all to get along and come out of our shells. I took part in daily activities where we did something different each day: from designing to making to filming. I learned lots in the two weeks, and did things I never thought I could do, like creating a concept for a photo shoot and then seeing that vision come to life.

After I achieved my Bronze Arts Award, I was more than eager to start working towards my Silver Award, where you have to work harder, longer and more independently, but the results are completely worth it. For my project, I made a fashion editorial, using original ideas, where I did all the research, styling, shooting and writing by myself, and in the end, I was extremely proud of the end product. Through this scheme, I am able to say that I was part of the award-winning ‘Under The Town’, a local music, dance and fashion festival extravaganza created by the young people on the Arts Award scheme for other young people in Blackpool.

The following year, I started my Gold Arts Award, where I was in charge of organising the festival, sorting out everything from the venue to the bands who played and the decor. I had an amazing time with my friends as I got the opportunity to design my own fashion garments and wear them in a fashion show. I also got to hand pick the bands and acts who performed, which really opened my eyes to the brilliant music scene we have here on the Fylde Coast. I also had the chance to take part in Preston’s Blaze Festival, which was part of the Cultural Olympiad (linked with the London 2012 Olympics). It was a tough year, with some challenging days and setbacks, but I finally completed my entire Arts Award, and felt the proudest I have ever been about myself.

I still wanted to be part of Arts Award, even though I had completed the award, so I volunteered to be a festival mentor last year, where I guided the people doing their Gold Awards, helping them with their projects and portfolios, and giving my honest input about their ideas and concepts. I was given the fantastic opportunity to perform an acoustic set at Under The Town in the beautiful Winter Gardens, which is something I would have said was impossible before getting involved with Arts Award.

I think that if you’re contemplating whether or not to join the Arts Award, you should definitely go for it. Not only has it developed my creative skills and broadened my knowledge about the arts, but it has taught me essential skills needed for life, like leadership, communication, time-management and organisation. I completed my Gold Arts Award in 2012 and now, two years later, it’s continuing to help me out in my life, with job interviews and university applications. It helps your CV/application to stand out, as it shows that you have motivation and strive to do something extra and productive with your spare time, and helps you to develop as a young person.

For me, Arts Award was a truly unforgettable experience where I made new friends, uncovered hidden talents of mine, and it has truly helped me develop into a young person. It has re-ignited my passion for the arts, and I am extremely proud of myself for all the amazing things I have achieved, which I never could have done without being part of the Arts Award.

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    17 year old student at Blackpool Sixth Form, interested in fashion and music.

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