The Eccleston George C>ART project.
AN INNOVATIVE youth arts project that links young people from the Island with counterparts in Southampton and Portsmouth has had support by Wightlink.
Bridging the Solent seeks to bring together the artistic talents of young people using galleries and artists on both sides of the water.
The challenge has started with Island youngsters and tomorrow (Saturday), they will present their creations, including a giant wicker handcart called the Community C>ART, to the Aspex gallery in Old Portsmouth.
Wightlink stepped in to solve one problem facing the Island artists – how to get a 1.5 metre by 2.5 metre oversized cart across the Solent. The ferry company has offered a free crossing to the youngsters and artists from Isle of Wight-based Eccleston George, who were heavily involved in the project.
The artistic entourage will tour the streets of Old Portsmouth before handing their work over to Aspex who will then contribute their own element before passing the C>ART to another arts group in Southampton.
The work produced at the end of the project will then return to the Island for an exhibition at the Quay Arts Centre, Newport, at the end of the year.
Nigel George, of Eccleston George, said: "The aim of the project is to help young people who may need some assistance as they approach adulthood to learn new skills, whether creative or social, through the medium of art.
"On the Island, the young people have come up with the theme of 'hacking’ which basically involves creating new and exciting things from old redundant items. We then had the idea that, seeing as the theme of the project was linking up with the mainland, the centrepiece of our work should be something to transport the work to Portsmouth."
The resulting cart has been fashioned mainly from old wooden pallets while the basket has been weaved from wicker. The giant spokes were created during a public session in East Cowes when members of the community were helped to work a lathe to make them.
Artist Ian Whitmore, who has led the Island leg of the project, says: "It is a large creation which gave us the problem of how to transport it to Portsmouth. Fortunately Wightlink stepped in and offered us free passage and now the young people, some of who lack a bit of confidence, are really keen to take it out and about in Portsmouth and show off their work."
Wightlink Chief Operations Officer John Burrows, adds: "It is fitting we are able to be involved in a project that links the Island with the mainland and particularly pleasing that the art we are transporting really shows off the exceptional talents of the Island’s young people."