Service users share their experiences through art and music

24 Feb 2015

Service users share their experiences through art and music

A collection of street art created by a group of offenders has been unveiled at Preston Minster.

The men, who are currently on probation, have put their life experiences onto canvas and into music � all as part of the URBN project.

Working with professional artist, Bodie Doyle, and international scratch champion, DJ Woody, the group explored their identities, experiences and future aspirations to create very personal pieces of graffiti art and scratch music � all of which were on show today for guests invited to the special event.

The project was funded through Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company and Lancashire Partnership Against Crime and run by community arts company, The Love & Etiquette Foundation.

One participant, Kurt Yates, says: �I�d always been interested in art so I jumped at the chance to get involved with the URBN project. This is the second time the probation service has given me the opportunity to work with a professional artist and produce my own artwork.

�I�m now a self-employed artist and I�m taking commissions from community centres and the public. The support I�ve received from this project has helped to make this possible so I�d like to thank everyone involved.�

Aaron Ireland, another participant and budding artist, has gone on to do some voluntary work for the Foxton Centre in Preston which supports people with alcohol problems. He says �I�ve produced some graffiti art on an outside wall to promote their �Wet Garden� project and they now want me to create a series of two-metre displays inside the centre to encourage young people to seek help and advice there.�

Phil O'Donnell, head of operations at Cumbria and Lancashire Community Rehabilitation Company, says: 'This project is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when we help individuals develop their talent and ability rather than just focusing on what they have done wrong. It�s encouraging to hear that some of the participants are continuing to contribute to their local communities by creating art on both a voluntary and commercial basis.�

Rizwan Iqbal, Creative Director at The Love & Etiquette Foundation, added: �This type of creative engagement is crucial for offenders to consider a viable and relevant option to integrate back into society and help to inspire others.�

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