Shutter Art Team win Young Citizen of the Year Awards

The Shutter Art project, which saw pupils from Beath High School help turn the grey shutters of the town's shops into striking pieces of art, has also found two of the town's young people awarded with Young Citizen of the Year.

I wanted Lee and Isla to get some kind of recognition because they’ve both been heavily involved in doing something positive for their town in their spare time. From a large group of pupils who volunteered to get involved through Beath High School art department, so far I have been able to get 10 involved - from less glamorous jobs such as cleaning and undercoating shutters to quickly learning spray painting skills in order to help complete artwork.

Although Lee was also from Beath High, he actually got involved by chance though talking to me one day when I was painting on my own. I gave him a chance to help finish the project I was starting on and I was really impressed how quickly he picked things up and how positive his attitude was. I was actually struggling with a particular part of the design I was working on and he encouraged me to keep going even though I felt like giving up. On later projects he was keen to share his new skills with others and was able to show the ropes to two of his own even younger ‘apprentices’!

Both Lee and Isla have shown continious enthusiasm for the project and turned up repeatedly, happy to get involved in any weather for any amount of time. They have been a pleasure to work with, assisting wherever required, engaging positively with the general public, using their initiative and constantly improving their skills. 

Due to the work being outdoors, having to fit around the weather and shop opening times, sometimes plans are made and also cancelled at the last minute. Both Lee and Isla have persevered with various weather conditions, without complaint, and have been dependable, reliable and stayed until the last tin of paint was tidied away every time. 

A huge amount of my work is based on facilitating community arts projects, so I have a lot of experience of getting young people involved in creating artwork. Sometimes having ‘trainees' can make a project take longer to get right. However, Lee and Isla have made the jobs much easier.

Lee Crawford, 13, said “I really like working with Kerry because I've learned how to spray paint. My mum said it was a great thing we we did. We are making the high street look amazing”.

Isla Cattanach, 16, said, “ I have enjoyed being part of the shutter art experience. When I first heard that we could get involved I was very excited as I love art and have always wanted to be involved with something like this. Doing the shutters has given me a sense of pride, that I have helped make my town a nicer place, and when I’m going through the streets and hear all the comments about the work, I realise that it was worth all the time and effort we put in as we have created some wonderful pieces for the local community.”

So far 16 shutters have been painted as part of this project, with several more in the pipeline.

Kerry Wilson