On Tuesday I was in London to meet Jo Hunter and David Micklem from 53 Million Artists. Jo and David started the ’53 Million Artists’ campaign at the end of last year. Despite having worked in arts organisations for some years, they both felt they had lost their own sense of creativity and came up with the idea of a campaign centred on doing which would encourage everyone to do something creative. The 53 Million Artists test website (http://53millionartists.com/) says “We think an artist is someone who has great ideas and who shares them with other people. We think you can do that too. We can do that. Everyone can do that. We can all be everyday artists. It’s not about talent or having a special skill – it’s about doing something different and sharing this with others.” Jo and David explained the four stages of the 53 Million Artists process: 1. Commit, 2. Do something creative, slightly outside your comfort zone, 3. Reflect, 4. Share online. 53 Million Artists secured some initial funding from Arts Council England with matched support from the Kings Cultural Institute which is undertaking research the effect taking part in the campaign has on individuals and communities. They have completed a pilot phase and are now developing a new website and partnerships to enable them to roll out a full UK-wide campaign next year. Jo and David are passionate about reclaiming the notion of artistry as something everyone does and want this to become a mainstream national conversation. We talked about the potential for Voluntary Arts and 53 Million Artists to work together and discussed possible links to Creative People and Places, the Media Trust’s Do Something Brilliant campaign and the Understanding Everyday Participation research project.
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