Youth Art Connect was the brainchild of two amazing people: Graham Cullis and Kate Evans. They realised that with so many young people suffering from poor mental health and little access to services, we needed to do something.
Art is renowned for being a fantastic way to helps with mental and physical well-being, so they came up with the idea of fun workshops for young people to come along to, make new friends, have a chat about what’s happening in their lives and learn fab new art skills in the process.
So, in April 2021 they ran the first ever youth art connect session at Kate’s studio on Berry Road and Youth Art connect was born. The feedback we got was so amazing we knew there was a need for this to continue.
Youth Art Connect was then joined by Siobhan Taylor and Marie Ralph, two other lovely humans, and after many a meeting and discussion, we came up with what we have today; a fantastic space for young people to attend regularly. Supported by a group of amazing volunteers and practitioners with a passion to help as many young people as they can through art, the idea of Youth Art Connect became a reality and a lifeline for so many young people across Cornwall.
So that’s us in a nutshell.
Currently, we are a not for profit community organisation which means we all volunteer our time and services because we are so passionate about promoting positive mental health in young people, but we always need help with donations, funding and sponsorships to ensure that we keep going.
If you feel you could help us by donating your time to volunteering , helping us fundraise or even sponsoring us, we are always needing help to keep the fantastic work of Youth Art Connect alive.
Our directors are Graham Cullis who lives in Bali, Marie Ralph and Siobhan Taylor both Newquay based! Although it gives us a fancy title, it basically allows us to run the groups more professionally and within the law.
We have a DBS service for all our staff so you can be assured we are all safe and verified to work with children and vulnerable adults, and yes we are insured and we bring a copy of the insurance and safeguarding / GDPR and other such polices to every group, if ever you wish to see them.
Founder of Youth Art Connect
Graham only discovered oil painting in May 2020 (aged 38) whilst living in Bali, Indonesia during the pandemic. It appeared he had a natural talent and now is now a full-time oil painting artist.
This discovery helped him through a very dark time when he experienced an intense bout of depression.
He took a sabbatical from his 9-5 job in sales and used art as his therapy.
His art took off and he soon quit his job to become a full-time artist and mental health ambassador. Now he wants to give back and help people discover ways of managing their own mental health whether it be through art or other wellness holistic activities.
He has used his growing social platforms to create communities and projects where ever he goes, his first being Youth Art Connect.
Graham now remains as co-director for Youth Art Connect helping YAC remotely with content creation.
Currently, Graham is in Bali starting up similar projects and is now on a mission to save the world one YouTube video at a time.
His vision is to take the YAC concept global.
Founder & Co-Director of Youth Art Connect
Hey there. My name is Marie and I’m one of the Directors for Youth Art Connect.
After completing my degree in art and design, specialising in animation, I moved to Cornwall where I had a whole range of jobs; from working with autistic adults to supporting people with poor mental health and addiction.
My passion has always been about working with young people with neurodevelopmental conditions and I specialise in working with those labelled with “behaviours that challenge”.
Youth Art Connect was set up to help as many young people as possible, whether they are disabled, neuro divergent or neurotypical, through the fantastic therapeutic medium of art.
I love what we do; having a passion for engaging with young people that others struggle to reach is a fantastic thing and we hope to take Youth Art Connect to as many places as possible.
Co-Director of Youth Art Connect
Siobhán is the quiet behind the scenes member of the team. Siobhan moved to Cornwall to study photography at Falmouth Uni in 2004 and has never left the south west. Siobhan is currently studying to become an Arts Counsellor to combine her love of Art and her passion to support young peoples mental health.
The stars aligned and Siobhan met Graham and Marie at just the right time having just quit her day job in ecommerce to focus on the career change and the rest is history.
Hello I am Natalie, I have always been able to escape into drawing. It seemed to happen far less often as an adult, so I went to art school, alongside working with children, and finished my degree in 2021. During my last year, I met Lesley Samms from Pure Arts and she put me in touch with Graham, after listening to me talk about the community art projects that I was very sad about leaving behind when moving to Cornwall after graduating. I am very grateful for that, as coming to YAC has given me the chance to meet some fantastic people and feel welcomed here in Cornwall. I remember how much harder this could feel as a teenager, so I’m happy to be part of creating a safe space in which young people can create, socialise and show up as they are. It is so important to keep the conversation around mental health open within our society and making these spaces more accessible to young people is part of this.
NHS Clinical Specialist and YAC volunteer
Ian is a specialist clinician working with NHS neurodevelopmental services for young people and adults. He is part of small cohort of Autistic clinicians focusing on mental health and neurodiversity needs within community based health services. Ian is active in the local Autistic community in relation to promoting an understanding and acceptance of difference in relation to different neurotypes.
Having been interested in the arts from an early age, in his late teens Ian was accepted for a place at Newcastle College of Fine Art. During his work in the health and social care sector, with a wide variety of client groups, he has been involved in the use of art based activities from a therapeutic perspective. He has always been keen to promote these as a way for people to connect with each other and to validate people’s experience of the world.
Ian became involved with Youth Art Connect early in 2022 due to how impressed he was by the positive outcomes that the organisation was achieving for many young people who had previously found it challenging to engage with communal and creative activities.
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