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15 Aug 2017

Art for more than arts sake.

Some people see art as some thing to be admired, a painting on a wall or sculpture in a park but it does so much more than look pretty.  Today I visited a group of young adults improving their art skills and receiving information about underage drinking.

Reading's Community Alcohol Partnership and Diverted U18 have been running a series of manga workshops over the summer both on Facebook (here) and in group classes like the one I attended today.



 Local manga artist Stephanie O'Brien has been running workshops that teach young people how to draw in the distinctive manga style while producing short comic stories on the dangers of underage drinking. 


This is a great example of using art and creativity to engage young people and change their lives for the better.

Here's the Reading Borough Council press release from when the activity was launched:

 A MANGA drawing project aimed at raising alcohol awareness for 13-17 year-olds is launching this summer.
The project, which was previously held during the Christmas and Easter school holidays, hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol consumption through art-based activities for young people throughout the summer period.

As before, the project, which is organised by Reading Borough Council’s Community Alcohol Partnership Officer, will be run by artist Stephanie O’Brien. She will be on hand throughout to help young people to create their own manga-style artwork with focus on the theme of alcohol awareness. Those taking part will have created their own manga-style comic book strip by the end of the project.
There will also be regular drop in sessions available for those involved in the project to go along if they wish to and get guidance for their art projects from Stephanie. A Facebook group – ‘Diverted U18’ – run by Stephanie, will also be offering daily updates on the project, guidance, and other competitions for the young project members.

Reading’s Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, Councillor Sarah Hacker said:
“This exciting diversionary project is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse and to promote the responsible use of alcohol to young people in a creative and engaging way. It is something creative that they can do with friends as well to keep busy during the summer. This is a great example of how art can be used to improve someone’s well-being”

Reading’s Lead Councillor for Health, Councillor Graeme Hoskin said:
“Young people are especially susceptible to the damage caused by alcohol abuse. I hope that this fun diversionary activity will go some way to educate young people through something creative. It’s also a great way to keep young people engaged during the long summer period as well as to spread key health and well-being messages.”

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