How can art improve a child’s quality of life?

Fifty Children, Fifty Artists aims to improve childrens' quality of life. Pic: Simon Davis

Fifty Children, Fifty Artists aims to improve childrens’ quality of life. Pic: Simon Davis

A charitable art project has brought together children from Tower Hamlets and some of the UK’s most respected artists to raise over £300,000 in sponsorship and donations. ‘Fifty children fifty artists’ is an initiative that set out to improve the lives of children living in London’s poorest borough, where one in every two children grows up in poverty.

Each contributing artist has created a unique portrait of a child from Tower Hamlets and will auction their artwork to raise money for the charity Miracles, whose vision is to “create little miracles for those who need them.”

A number of local businesses in Tower hamlets and the surrounding areas have supported the project, in order to spread awareness of the rising levels of inequality in London.

James Burton, a charity worker and director of the project, said his motivation for the cause was inspired by a trip to the National Gallery a year ago, when he realised that the portraits featured kings, queens, pop stars and businessmen, rather than ordinary people living normal lives.

He described the project as a “snapshot of life, over a year, in Tower Hamlets”. One in 12 children in the borough are living in temporary accommodation, while a fifth of working age residents are claiming a key benefit and 52 per cent of children are claiming the free school meals entitlement.

Concerns have mounted over the borough for a number of years, as Tower Hamlets also suffers

from high numbers of premature mortality, overcrowding, unemployment and a significant number of 19-year-olds lacking qualifications, according to London Poverty Profile.

Ros Fraser, spokesperson for the project, said: “Nothing like this has ever been done before. We want to draw attention to this issue in a positive and engaging way, rather than just throwing facts and figures around.”

“There are so many facets to this charity; giving children a legacy, giving them some long lasting experience.”

“It’s a way of saying, look, these are the people were really trying to help.”

The full project will be exhibited for the first time in Shoreditch Town Hall, from March 23 – 27 but members of the public can view some of the artwork and donate money online now.

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