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“There’s going to be so much going on if you’re interested in creativity, you should go!”


Kim Pennell and Sophia Barnes are part of the YO Arts Fest ‘behind-the-scenes’ team who will be designing, producing and marketing the event to encourage young creatives to get involved with the fun and exciting occasion, which is designed for young people, by young people. Kim is a creator whose interest in branding means her design talents will help the project in both a practical and aesthetic manner, whilst Sophia’s musical and creative talents will help in developing the social media aspect of her role.


Both Kim and Sophia’s enthusiasm for the YO Arts Fest is vibrant and apparent, meaning that they believe in the message they are encouraging. So, we wanted to hear more about the important message that the event is promoting and why the team believes in the purpose of the YO Arts Fest.




What would you say to encourage young creatives that are considering attending the event?


Sophia: “There’s going to be lots of different pathways into the arts, like film, drawing, music…”

Kim: “We’re basically bringing the art world to you! You don’t have to go out and look for these opportunities, we’re bringing the opportunities to you… and it’s free. You just have to turn up, and there’s going to be artists there and organisations based in Bristol you can go and talk to. There’s going to be workshops you can get involved in, live painting, music, and a DJ session after – and a live band! There’s going to be so much going on if you’re interested in creativity, you should go!”





Why do you believe in the YO Arts Fest?


Kim: “I just think that if I had the opportunity to go to an event like this when I was 16 or 17 I would have absolutely loved it, because there were no arts events in my area, so having the idea to follow a creative pathway and actually earning money from it was never really an [option] in my mind. So being able to come to this when you’re 16 when you have so much time to focus on creative things and so much energy and money you don’t have to spend on rent would’ve been really good to have. So being able to provide young people with…”

Sophia: “Opportunities. Opportunities is the operative word.”

Kim: “And even being a part of [the event] creates opportunities for us.”



Finally, could you describe the YO Arts Fest in 3 words?


Kim: “Diverse, accessible…”

Sophia: “Bright, colourful…”

 Kim: “A celebration of youth talent.”



If you want to catch this amazing event created by Kim, Sophia and the team, check out YO Arts Fest on Thursday 15th November at Docklands Youth Centre St Pauls’s Settlement, 74-80 City Rd, Bristol. The free arts event celebrates the creativity of vibrant youth, talent and community. This interactive event will include local youth talents, inspirational speakers, arts workshops, stalls, signposting, exhibitions, delicious food and arts opportunities!



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The future of paper arts

A Statement from the Board of Directors


Like many organisations, PAPER Arts has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, on appointment of a highly skilled CEO, we made the bold decision to review our business model and begin a process of research and development in order to shape a new service and to better support creatives in Bristol with professional development, networking and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported creatives in Bristol, with a focus on young people from St Pauls, our Creative Employment programme hosted over 20 sessions and we welcomed 17 young people to feed into our research and development proposal. 

However, the last 18 months have been a huge challenge, while we’ve been able to successfully deliver a plethora of projects since our inception seven years ago, we have been unable to secure the funding necessary to realise our ambitious plans for the future and to provide our organisation with much needed financial stability.

As a result, it is with a heavy heart that the current PAPER Arts team, made up of Grace, Kate, Katy, Lau and Amie will no longer be able to continue in their roles. Our small team has delivered a substantial amount of value to the community we serve and the Board of Directors are endlessly grateful for the skills and professionalism they bring with them each and every day. We are proud to know and work alongside such talented individuals and believe that the arts sector is a better place with them in it. 

The ideas generated by this team are inspiring and hopeful and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly believe in the importance of supporting the creative community in Bristol.

As September ends and the seasons change PAPER Arts will be going into hibernation in order to survive this adversity. Our voluntary Board of Directors will spend the coming months considering the future of PAPER Arts, the role we can play in the arts sector in Bristol and how we can sustainably move forwards. We don’t know what that will look like yet, but as soon as we are able to share more with you we will. 

In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to speak to someone about the future of PAPER Arts please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] – Kirsten Cree, one of the Board of Directors will be monitoring this inbox. 

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