PLAY VIDEOS ON GUARDIAN AD

You’re here because you saw our ad in The Guardian today about the co-funding campaign for our year long #ARTCONENCTS19 Festival.

Possibly because you’d like to see a few of the films we’ve thrown together which you can do below or by installing an app on your phone or tablet and watching them actually play on the page.

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Four years ago, having watched a TED talk by a Liverpudlian, read half a book by a Professor and been inspired by a weekend at Camp Bestival, a dad, birdman and wannabe artist had a dream.

To get a few parents, teachers and other creative carers in the community together to run a creativity festival in their children’s school in Paddington.

It worked. The kids loved it, but just as importantly, so did everyone else.

So he co-founded STEAM Co. as a non-profit community enterprise to try to roll it out to the country’s other 20,924 primary schools.

The idea would be that STEAM Co. would inspire, showcase and action creativity in school communities and connect with business and wider society.

No one would let the dad speak at their conferences and only one paper would write about it.

The headline in an issue of The Guardian Family section read “I just talk quickly til people say ‘yes’”.

Since then he’s been on the ultimate creative roller coaster ride because many school community leaders, politicians, policy makers, parents, festivals and other creative people and companies as diverse as Barclays and Lego, Cass Art and Google, National Grid and Ikea have all said ‘yes’.

Now it’s your turn.

#ARTCONNECTS19

The dad was inspired by a film he saw before Christmas of how the greatest gift – a piano, music, art, a career idea - changed Elton John’s life forever.

He borrowed a fancy car off some friends at an ad agency and went on a 2 week UK tour, visiting two schools a day, showing and discussing the film to 5,000 children.

He also showed a film of the greatest gift he’d been given, a train set when he was one and told the children how his dad had shown him how to use his imagination.

On New Years’ Day he announced a 30 day sprint to co-create a ten day-long launch for a nationwide #ARTCONNECTS19 Festival of Creative Schools, Work and Lives.

How it would showcase the Power of Creativity, Tech and People to Inspire Children in their Education, highlight Creative Careers and Engage Communities.

That school communities across the UK would run small, local #OURART19 events and come to London for a weekend of events in Notting Hill.

#ARTforALL

The launch week was kicked off by an #ART4ALL Parliament event which featured performances, talks and workshops by a range of young and older artists.

Teenage singer/songwriter Ria Hanley sang her song ‘Break the Mirror’ about the pressure of screen culture on young people

Iconic veteran photographer of The Windrush Generation, Charlie Phillips, told how “Growing up working class, we didn’t have access to the arts”.

The highlight of the event were a few words by a young Yorkshireman from Leeds and one of the most challenged communities in the UK. He’d brought the Lego train set that the dad had given him on the Christmas Tour.

THE MINISTER OF THE ART OF…

The biggest barrier that the above launch and rest of the #ARTCONNECTS19 Festival year face is funding. The timing was too tight to get any grants or sponsorship, but the show had to go on.

And go on it did, to much acclaim, and money was borrowed to pay to film it and cover minimal costs. Now we have to pay for it.

The dad was delighted to be invited to the first major speech by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright in Coventry. There he heard how the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport were collaborating with other departments on art projects – to educate, for heath, in prisons and across industry.

And importantly how they were co-funding these projects.

And how they were planning a £120m National Festival of Creativity for 2020.

But we can’t wait that long to fly a flag for creativity and our art. And don’t need to.

BE A PART OF IT

Building on this co-funding idea, the dad thought about how collaborative companies like the Co-op will make you part of their business for a pound.

He’d been told how The Royal Society of The Arts had been founded in the 18th Century and offered all fellows the chance to be listed as alongside the highest and mightiest Lords and Barons for a guinea.

When Gaz Mayall of Notting Hill’s Celtic Ska band The Trojans, offered use of their song ‘Brother can you spare a pound’, STEAM Co, launched a campaign for everyone to be a part of #ARTCONNECTS19.

CAN YOU SPARE A POUND?

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Borrowing from the established idea of Patrons for establishment projects, STEAM Co. launched an appeal for PARTrons – creative people and companies who would be a PART of this community festival, with their ART, whatever that is.

For one pound they would get their name listed in an upcoming edition of the STEAM Co. newspaper as well as on a page in The Guardian on Saturday 30th March.

For ten pounds they’ll be sent a copy. For a little more they’d get a t-shirt or be able to sponsor a creativity session in a school or even put another of STEAM Co.’s Pop-Up Day Drop Trucks on the road.

TO DO WHAT?

During the #ARTCONNECTS19 Year we want to tour the country running events for both parents and policy makers, run creativity sessions in schools, paste up #ILOVEART posters, attend festivals and help school communities run their own #OURART19 events.

Would you like to run or be part of one?

If you want to be part, support tit or just see your name in the paper in a few weeks and can spare a pound, search for #PARTRON19 or snap the QR code here on your smartphone camera.

MUST READS

In his book ‘The Icarus Deception’, Seth Godin says ‘Art is frightening. Art isn’t pretty. Art isn’t painting. Art isn’t something you hang on the wall. Art is what we do when we’re truly alive. Art might scare you. Art might bust you. But art is who we are and what we do and what we need.

An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo. Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey.

The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.

ART is what we call it when what we do might connect us.’

HOW HIGH WILL THEY FLY

STEAM Co. believes we all have to discover and celebrate our art. And help our children to. To find their passion and pursue their dreams.

We hope you’ll be a part of the #ARTCONNECTS19 Festival with your art.

That you’ll spare a pound to be a #PARTron19.

Click here to discover more