Thursday, 30 April 2009

I started the day at the dentist but after that I went to the West Park Centre for the opening of 'The Store'...

My colleagues Paul Kaiserman and Clare Biggs had asked me to open the event and I was sandwiched between the brilliant 'Silver Sparrows' steel-pans and the incredible 'Bitz' dance group. This is the third 'The Store' event showcasing an incredible range of partners and providers. Partners and providers who are available to work with our schools to develop the entitlement that every child has to the arts here in Leeds. This year there were over 90 offers from music, dance and drama to street art, cheerleading and storytelling. The buzz and magic that was there, wherever you went in the West Park Centre, was fantastic. We are so lucky to be here in Leeds with this range of support to release the magic and the talent in our schools, Children's Centres and community centres.

Picasso said that 'every child is born an artist' and I hope that the outcome of 'The Store' will be that every child gets the opportunity to develop their talent within the arts. Who knows where the future Sylvie Guillem, Adam Cooper, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Bryn Terfel or Kylie Minogue are sitting, but they are out there somewhere. Our job is to ensure that every child sings and dances and acts and plays and creates so that we immerse our young people in a rich and brilliant arts offer, we find our talent and we release their magic.

It makes you proud to be part of something which will have such a brilliant impact on children and young people over the next eighteen months. Congratulations to the Paul, Clare and the Artforms team for pulling off something so spectacular!

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