Culture Street is a cross art form website that introduces young people aged 7–15 to contemporary artists and cultural organisations across the UK. We highlight their work on our Art, Stage, Museum and Book channels and provide information about the arts in ways that they can relate to wherever they might live in the country. To date we have featured over 60 individual artists including visual artists, writers, curators, actors, directors, photographers, animators, dancers and more. Some are famous like Antony Gormley and Andy Goldsworthy but others are less well-known, but just as valuable as creative role models.
Why do we need a cultural website for this age group? We want more young people to have access to contemporary artists as creative role models in a safe and secure environment. We want more young people to be better informed about arts organisations and possible careers in the arts. Culture Street links them to free creative activities that they are unlikely to come across anywhere else on the internet to get them fully engaged. The range of activities includes a slip-decorating tool which enables you to decorate and fire a plate in a virtual kiln and a virtual super action comic book. These are complimented with a wide range of workshops and lesson plans to support real activity in the classroom.
Our ‘What is?' series of films help young people find out about arts organisations in different art forms. There is: What is Seven Stories? and What is the V&A Museum of Childhood alongside What is the International Slavery Museum? All these films are presented by young people as we see them explore the venue or interview the director or curator. Young people also produce reviews about art, films, books and shows such as a trip to the Bowes Museum.
Culture Street supports Arts Award at Discover, Explore and Bronze levels wherever and whenever possible as we believe the award is an excellent tool for inspiring children and young people to become more engaged with the arts.
We would be the first to admit that reaching the audience is our biggest challenge. The 7–15 year age group is a hard-to-reach group with a digital cultural offer not linked to mainstream TV. To counter this we try to provide resources that teachers will want to use in the classroom and we look to reach our target audience through them. You may have heard of our previous visual arts site ArtisanCam, which won a BAFTA award. This site was archived in 2011 when we moved on to create the cross art form Culture Street. We are proud of the improvements and just need to keep spreading the word. Follow us on twitter @CultureStreetUK or link to http://www.culturestreet.org.uk.
Keith Alexander, Content Director, Culture Street