Young people find it tricky to get noticed as an artist – the art world can be intimidating. This group of young artists celebrate and exhibit their art in the Teen Art Gallery, run in New York by teens. Our Sally-Anne caught up with director Charlotte Bravin Lee to find out more.
What better way to #jumpintohistory, than to immerse yourself in historical fiction for kids… but where to start?
With so many great titles to chose from, you might find it difficult to plump for one of them. Louise is a life-long bookworm, and lover of historical fiction, and has some great tips.
I have always loved reading fiction books about history, especially books about girls.
I grew up reading fiction books about the lives of girls: Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, L.M Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon and Anne of Green Gables, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did series. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods series, which is the story of Laura’s life growing in 19th century America. I always wanted to be Laura and have adventures living in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods, although I am still not very keen about the lack of indoor plumbing.
Hi my name is Taylor. I am 9 years old, I am in year 5. I live in St Ives in Cambridgeshire. I like irish dancing, Jessie J, Tang So Do and Tuna Pasta. When I grow up I want to be a midwife.
I have been working with my Aunty Bry who is an artist. We have been working together for almost a year when I am not at school.
Our project together is called Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model.
It’s a social campaign, theatre show, documentary and education project.
If you don’t know already, a role model is someone you admire, whose behaviour inspires you, makes you happy. And want to achieve something as well as they have.
Ages ago me and my aunty Bryony had a look at the role models that were offered to kids like me on TV, in music, online. We found they were all very similar. Lots of them talked about fame and money, the girls all looked similar, the way they made you feel was the same, most also tried to sell you something. We started to think about a different role model who wasn’t like that. And we decided to make one come to life. As an alternative.
I chose my top 5 personality traits for a role model from a list that Bryony gave me. These were:
I then created a character that had these traits. Bryony asks me 100s of questions all the time. I am in charge. I am the manager. She then goes away and makes things come to life. It is very fun. And a bit strange.
Her name is Catherine Bennett.
She works in a Museum with the dinosaurs.
She has a dog called Cookie
She is 29.
She is good at what she does. She worked hard to get there.
Her favourite food is Tuna Pasta.
Her bedroom is light blue.
She has lots of friends, likes parties and being outdoors.
She goes to the gym everyday and practices martial arts.
She has a boyfriend called Matthew and a best friend called Chelsea.
Matthew is a proof reader.
Chelsea is a midwife.
To relax she lays on the sofa and watches TV.
Her favourite film is War Horse.
She likes 80’s music.
She cycles everywhere.
Her favourite TV programme is Come Dine With Me
Catherine as you have seen, has shoulder length blonde curly hair
She wears glasses and a dinosaur bone necklace.
Has blue eyeshadow and red lipstick
She wears knee length skirts and likes polo necks
She is quite covered up. She is quite clumsy so doesn’t wear high heels. She always has a back pack even when she is on the red carpet. She is a normal lady.
We decided that pop music was the best way to reach people my age. So CB became a pop star. My aunty played me hours and hours of music. She then gave me a sentence and made me fill in the blanks with musicians and bands.
CB sings songs like Lily Allen, written by the B52’s and produced by The Gorillaz.
I then gave Bryony and Tom (who makes the music) the things I thought CB should sing about, things that me and my friends like. Animals, Friendship, getting up and being happy.
Catherine Bennett wants you to believe that anything is possible in life. She wants you to use your imagination
And she wants to make sure no one ever feels small.
We now need to get CB famous. So we can prove that kids would like an alternative role model.
We have decided that fame means:
1 million hits on Youtube
Interviews on 3 TV shows
Newspaper and magazine coverage
And one big company to offer to buy CB (so we know they are scared and want in on our good thing!)
You can help us by…
Sharing our music and telling people our story. Pass this on to all your friends, and visit the website www.catherinebennett.so
NOW. I want to introduce you to someone –
My pop star role model. Catherine Bennett.
EDITOR’S NOTE — April 2014 —
Since writing this article, Taylor and her aunt have been very busy. First they raised a ton of money to pay for a documentary to be made about their project, and they starred in their show. It was performed in theatres around UK, and then in Australia, where the response has been brilliant. This review from Herald Sun
The show flips between deliciously charming and fiercely confronting as we watch the pair dance with joy and abandon to Jessie J, enact fantasy stories, become knights-errant to fight invisible enemies, and share secrets about each other with the audience.
Taylor is a bright-eyed, innocent fawn in Kimmings’ eyes, while Taylor sees her aunt as a dinosaur with a bad back.
Kimmings in compelling and this production is joyful, self-referential, autobiographical theatre-making at its best, with a touch of feminist politics, a smattering of critical analysis of pop stardom, a huge dollop of comical storytelling and pop culture, and plenty of poignant yearning.