I am writing with the hope to share with you a project that is very close to my heart called cmap.

CMAP stands for the Charlotte Miller Art Project.  We have been working to offer creative arts projects for street working children in Ecuador since 2001.

The project was set up in memory of a dear friend of mine Charlotte Miller.  Who sadly died in 2001 whilst traveling in Latin America researching the set up of such arts projects.  Charlotte was an inspiration.  I meet her when I was studying photography at Falmouth College of Arts, she had so much passion and energy she touched everyone she meet.  It was a sad, sad day when we heard she had suffered a tragic accident.  When I heard her mother Sue Miller had set up a project in her honor I was excited to go and help out, in any way I could.  I wanted to be part of sharing Charlotte’s idea of art being important for all – no matter your situation, experience or background, should be able to access the opportunity to be creative.  In 2005 I went to Ecuador with a fellow photographic artist, Lara Kay, to run a photography project with groups of street children in Guayaquil.  It was an incredible experience, I was touched by the power of creativity and its way of visually allowing the children the chance to express themselves.  From this day onwards I have been active in arts education for those that may not have access to arts activity.

Off the back of my trip to Ecuador I worked closely with Sue Miller, to set up a scheme where in which arts practitioners from the UK travel to Latin America for 6 to 12 month placements to run arts projects in partnership with local NGO’s.  In 2006 we started working in Mexico as well as Ecuador, this lead to cmap becoming a charity and in early 2011 we became a registered charity.  We are about to set up a new programme with an NGO in Sao Paulo Brazil, in 2 weeks I fly out to spend time developing the project with two amazing, dedicated artists Rachel Silver and Rhea McAteer.

We are currently recruiting for placement in late 2012 and 2013. We are currently looking for Arts Practitioners them may come from a variety of backgrounds from: Youth Arts workers, Gallery Educators, Artist educators, drama and music practitioners, film makers and photographers.

Are you motivated to work with vulnerable young people and dedicated to provide creative arts projects then please do get in touch?

cmap is also developing a UK programme to work with vulnerable children and young people in London, Brighton and across the South East.  To make this happen we are running our first annual art auction in June.  We are currently looking for artists to donate artworks to make this valuable work a reality. If you or someone you know is willing to help by donating artwork to cmap, please, please do get in touch.

The artwork can be any medium, subject matter or size, framed or unframed.  If you think you can support please do get in touch for more information: auction@cmap.org.uk

Thank you lovely people.

“Hey K. You well? We want to invite you to write a blog post for us! Maybe sharing your experience of exhibiting for the first time and doing so well? Let us know what you think! Xx’’

I hesitated and mulled it over to myself,  “I find writing time consuming and as painful as a visit to the dentist… but I now write more than ever… sometimes I even type without looking at the keyboard… it’s good to take myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself… I may be able to show some images …”

In December of last year I submitted some art pieces to be part of ‘Mull it over’ which was curated by Collate Presents and held at the Artist Residence in Brighton. I was unsure of what they would make of my work and I was really surprised and delighted to find out that I had three pieces accepted. This was a new experience for me, I am 47 and I had not previously exhibited or sold any work.

I arrived early on the night of the private view with some friends and family, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing my work on the walls and didn’t know what to expect when I got inside.

Over 200 pieces of work were crammed in and covered the walls, all the work was 2D and none of it was framed. All art looks better when it is displayed professionally and has space around it to breathe, but framing, storage, insurance, gallery space and transportation are expensive. Collate Presents recognised this as being a barrier that stops many artists exhibiting (myself included), their priority was to get as many artists work on the walls as possible and to get as many people to come view it as possible.

The Artist Residence soon became packed, the mood was good and the cheap beer was flowing. There was a massive variety of great work on display and a diverse group of people came. I was able to observe people observing my work which was enjoyable and I got a few nice compliments.

But the highlight of the evening for me was seeing so many of my friends turn up to something that they would normally avoid. I woke up to this text from a long term Brightonian friend the following morning.

“Thanks for this evening – its really exciting to see someone I know doing creative stuff and getting on with it. It’s like being young again.”

Three months on and as a direct result of the exhibition I have sold five A1 prints which is brilliant. More importantly the whole experience has given me a gentle nudge and set me off on a bit of a journey. I will be exhibiting as part of the UOHAM during Brighton Festival and in October as part of Brighton Photo Fringe.

Collate Presents managed to create a real buzz with Mull it over and gave a lot of artists valuable exposure and experience. They put a massive amount of work into it and took no commission on sales. Whatever their plans are for the future they deserve everyone’s support because they are good for artists and good for Brighton.