You might have seen them, shuffling discreetly around the café Out of the Brew, during the opening of the art exhibition which took place on June 7, 2017. You might have encountered their welcoming smiles, when you came to explore the world CEN8Kids imagined and created for you to see, in the basement of the café. You might have expressed your admiration for the children’s work before nodding goodbye to them, as you made your way back out into the prosaic world. Little did you – little could you know – that the people behind the welcoming smiles were also the devoted and resilient hands behind the exhibition; the volunteers who went above and beyond for the children’s artwork to be exhibited.
The preparation of My Dreams, My World started months in advance, as student volunteers organised lesson plans which scheduled children’s production of creative artwork that would feature in the exhibition. With themes ranging from self-expression to self-image, CEN8Gold art facilitators encouraged children to express the way they saw the world and the way they saw themselves in kaleidoscopic fashion – by creating puppets and drawings, costumes and masks.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, those very same CEN8Gold art facilitators were joined by other student volunteers. Together, they scheduled and organised curation meetings in order to discuss and plan the art event to come. Paragons of commitment and professionalism, they reflected and acted upon the practicalities such an event requires. Not only did they establish a budget, they also liaised with the managers of the venue to figure out how to make the most of the space available and how to best display the artwork children had dedicated much time, passion and effort to.
In organising My Dreams, My World, CEN8Gold volunteers manifested qualities which, brought together, make for the most resilient and determined leaders. Not in the least disheartened by the amount of time the preparation of the event would take, they devised communication strategies to get the community to engage with the event. Every step of the way that led to the exhibition was carried out with diligence – from the size of the bookmarks, posters and flyers which were to be printed out, to the quality of pastries at the bake sale.
This staple stage of CEN8’s fundraising and promotional strategy – which took place on the 24th and 25th of May 2017 on the ground floor of Goldsmiths’ library – turned out to be a meaningful moment both for the organisation of the art exhibition, and for the bond which ties CEN8 to the student community of New Cross. It gave our volunteers the occasion to promote CEN8 activities by interacting face to face with their fellow students.
Two weeks later, it was time for the children’s artwork to be displayed at the opening of the art exhibition. On the faces of all our CEN8Gold volunteers, one could discern pride – pride in having been part of such a project; pride in having been in the presence of artists as they made magic happen and crafted a world of their own. Yet, humble, they made themselves discreet; almost invisible, they gazed with radiant respect at the children who, beaming with pride, took their parents through the gallery to show them their creations.
In organising My Dreams, My World, our CEN8Gold volunteers have displayed an impressive amount of level-headed professionalism; they have brilliantly and humbly done justice to our CEN8Kids artwork in setting up a superb event. We couldn’t be more proud.