For The European Art Summit next week, we are welcoming artists and their support studios to Project Ability to meet each other, work together and build connections. The next artists and support studio we would like to introduce to you are….. Dominic, Leslie and Amber from Venture Arts!
Dominic Bennett is a multidisciplinary visual artist, rapper, producer and as an arts and disability rights advocate. He has been a practicing artist at Venture Arts for six years where he creates work across photography, textiles, ceramics and film exploring his fascination with hip hop culture, wrestling, protest and the iconic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. He devised AMP project (Accessible Music Productions) a monthly workshop at HOME in which delivers accessible music workshops and club nights.
Dominic was a part of Project X, an ambitious 16-month, cross-art-form talent development initiative for a collective of young artists aged 18-25 at HOME. The programme was called This Is Human and attracted 1000 visits across 21 events – the project bought together a collective of young artists to stage a yearlong takeover of the venue – as part of the project he developed the interactive video game, Weasel Nation.
Leslie Thompson has been a regular practising artist at Venture Arts studios for over twenty years. He has a highly developed drawing style, drawing both from memory and through live observational drawings. Leslie depicts scenes from television and film from 1970 -1990 and his drawings are often punctuated with fascinating anecdotes from film, music and TV. He also has a vast collection of superheroes which he binds and protects.
Leslie found success when he sold all of his vitrine series on the opening day at the OutsiderXchanges (Conversations Series 1 – multi-year programme of collaborative artist residencies led by Venture Arts) project booth at The Manchester Contemporary ,2016.
He has quickly gained a reputation as a fantastic mural artist too, creating bespoke murals in the head offices of Ladbible and Sheila Bird Group in Manchester. He also specialises in capturing events through live drawing and has worked with DadaFest, Creative minds North, Hubbub Theatre and regular events for Venture Arts such as Making the Case Symposium.
Amber began her journey as a member of Venture Arts’ Young People’s Art Club over 11 years ago and in September 2018 she joined the Venture Arts staff team as Public Engagement Assistant. She is the face of VA, from welcoming visitors at events to presenting to schools, cultural organisations and disability campaigners on issues ranging from careers in the arts to inclusive practice. She is a powerful advocate who works tirelessly to promote understanding of learning disability and to make cultural places more inclusive.
As the chair of the Venture Arts steering group, she has represented Venture Arts at Creative Minds North meetings, been part of MIF (Manchester International Festival) youth forum meetings and became a Curious Minds Young Associate. In 2018 Amber was recognised in the Dimensions Learning Disability and Autism Leaders list for her work in breaking down the barriers that prevent people with learning disabilities from participating in arts and culture.
Find out more about Venture Arts.
Top Image: Amber Okpa-Stother