Pink-Collar Gallery Presents The Arts Inspiring Art. Exploring new ways of mentoring artists in an open and honest way.
Exhibtion open online until 9th Feb 2023
Being an artist can be a wonderful profession, expressing your vision, learning and teaching new skills and showing the world your talents and passion. It can be a truly wonderful job but there is also a lot of pressure in having a practice. Being an artist from a working-class background can be a very difficult profession, working alone, lack of funding opportunities and not having the knowledge of negotiating the art world.
The proportion of working-class creatives in the UK has shrunk by half since the 1970s. The Analysis of Office for National Statistics data found that 16.4% of creative workers born between 1953 and 1962 had a working-class background, which fell to just 7.9% for those born four decades later. These statistics hit harder for working-class creative women who, after the pandemic has further exposed to deeper gender and class inequities. In the U.K, 64% of undergraduates and 65% of postgraduates in creative arts and design are women, but 68% of the artists represented at top London commercial galleries are men.
Local curator Michaela Wetherell who runs Pink-Collar Gallery has recently launched Pink-Collar Agency, a dedicated program of events that helps tackle these inequalities to help working-class women who work in the arts to have an easier path to develop their practice.
Working in partnership with Durham University, Pink-Collar Agency has developed mentorship programmes to help artists who have barriers in their careers. The selected artists will be working with other artists working in the North East and connecting with art organisations who can give them a greater insight into how to negation their career in the arts. We want to not only inspire their practice but learn from their mentors how to negotiate their profession.
Working in partnership with Durham University Arts, Pink-Collar Agency has developed a mentorship programme to help artists who have barriers in their careers. The artists who were selected, Karen Sikora and ECCarter were selected due to a stage in their profession where they wanted to work in the arts in a freelance setting and needed guidance on how to navigate this.
The artists have had one-on-one time with artists and other freelancers in The North East and talked to art organisations and galleries in Middlesbrough and Newcastle to get an insight into how artists can work with them in the future.
The mentorship programme has concluded with an exhibition and online conversations with the artists talking about their experience on the mentoring programme, what they have learnt and what is still needed in the arts for working-class people to thrive.
Many thanks to Jo Howell, Kym Deyn, Leanne Pearce, Sarah Cooney, The Auxiliary, Platform A Gallery, Pineapple Black, MIMA, Tees Vallery Arts, NCA, Hancock Gallery, Theresa Easton, Northern Print, Vane and Durham University Arts.
click on the links for the exhibtions and conversations.