Shelly Woods, one of the UKs top wheelchair racers with sights set on London 2012, will take time away from the track to model in a drawing class at the National Portrait Gallery
Shelly, who is one of BPs London 2012 athlete ambassadors, will be the star attraction at two free Summer Schools for 14-19 year olds where past winners from the BP Portrait Award will draw and paint with young people from London, including some who have never drawn or stepped inside a gallery.
While many are expected to take part from the five London 2012 Host Boroughs, a new website launched today www.npg.org.uk/bpnextgeneration
will enable hundreds of thousands of young people worldwide to get involved.
The three-year project will create free opportunities for 1419-year-olds to engage with portraiture through the BP Portrait Award. It will be major part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, and will provide a permanent artistic legacy.
BP Portrait Award: Next Generation encourages young artists of the future, from first-time Gallery visitors to those who want to make art their career, by connecting them with other young people interested in portraiture and BP Portrait Award winning artists.
Among those artists who have lent their support to the initiative (with portraits in the National Portrait Gallerys Collection) are Tan Tai-Shan Schierenberg (Seamus Heaney), Stuart Pearson Wright (J K Rowling), Ishbel Myerscough (Dame Helen Mirren), James Lloyd (Sir Paul Smith) and Peter Edwards (Sir Bobby Charlton).
Over 120 young people from across London, including the five 2012 Host Boroughs (Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Newham and Greenwich), and up to 40 BP Portrait Award artists will take part in BP Portrait Award: Next Generation this year through a series of short Taster Sessions, three-day Summer Schools and video interviews with artists filmed by young people on the website.
Shelly Woods, 24, is one of Britains best young talents for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She currently holds the British record for the 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m and marathon. In the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, she won a bronze medal in the 5,000m wheelchair final and a silver medal in the 1500m event. Shelly is one of six athlete ambassadors that BP, as Official Oil and Gas Partner and a Sustainability Partner for London 2012, will support as they prepare for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Aspiring 14-19 year-old artists will be able to meet practising artists and create their own portraits. In Taster Sessions over the London 2012 Open Weekend they will be able to try their hands at drawing and for a more intensive experience, and an opportunity to draw a portrait of Shelly Woods, they can apply for a place at one of the two Summer Schools in August which feature oil painting and life drawing over a three-day period.
On the new website young people aged 14-19 can display and share their portraits via flickr and can go behind the scenes to hear about what it is like to be an artist selected for the BP Portrait Award in video interviews filmed by young people and can vote in online portraiture polls. Teachers will be able to support their classroom teaching with a downloadable BP Portrait Award: Next Generation Teachers tool-kit, which has tutorials from practising artists and methods and approaches for painting portraits.
Shelly Woods says: I am really looking forward to joining the art classes at the National Portrait Gallery. It is great to be involved in such an exciting project which, in the spirit of London 2012, has a real legacy in inspiring young people of all abilities and backgrounds to paint and draw.
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: We are thrilled that Shelly Woods has agreed to support BP Portrait Award: Next Generation which through its Summer Schools and website will offer exciting opportunities for young artists and a chance to really engage with BP Portrait Award winners.
Des Violaris, Director UK Arts & Culture BP, says: BP is delighted to support this exciting extension to the BP Portrait Award inspired by London 2012. BP Portrait Award: Next Generation aims to motivate and provide opportunities for young people to work with practising artists to explore portraiture. Enthused by this programme we hope to see a future BP Portrait Award winner evolve from this experience.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, says: Were proud that BP Portrait Award: Next Generation is part of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival and hope that it will leave a lasting legacy for young people. Were delighted to be working with BP, our Premier Partner of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad, to discover the artists of the future.