Bright Lights: Youth Arts Festival is an annual exhibition organized by people aged 13-25 from across Sunderland who co-produce and organize their own cultural events, work with artists and learn new skills.
The festival is supported by Sunderland Culture and organized by the Celebrate Different Collective. The exhibition lasts until April 2 and is in the main gallery.
The venue also hosts a series of events during the mid-term.
A new dance show brings 1930s Paris to the Auditorium
Tuesday February 22 – Poems of Town, a documentary about the 2021 musical project where a group of young people have written a new EP with Field Music and the poet Paul Summers. Wednesday, February 23 – Free Young Artist Workshop Bright Lights for youth 13 and older, followed later by Washington Youth Theater’s 40-minute self-penned play, Little Timmy Starts a Revolution. Thursday February 24 – Creative Me Workshop, a feel-good session designed to provide a friendly and creative space to explore painting, printing and collage techniques. Any skill level is welcome. Friday 25 February, a free songwriting workshop organized by Sunderland Music Hub. Right Track, a group of young musicians and songwriters, will advise ages 12 and up on how to write songs. The music will then be performed at a concert. Saturday February 26 – Free Planet Earth Workshop for families and young people, using recycled materials and led by local artists, raising awareness of the climate crisis.
One artist whose work is featured this year is Kai Dixon, 17, who is studying for a BTec in Digital Art at Sunderland College’s Bede Campus.
Kai said, “The college encouraged us to submit some of our art to Bright Lights, and I have two digital pieces as part of the exhibit.
“One of my pieces is called Self Made Man and is about my journey as a transgender man. My second piece, Dysphoria, is about how I feel about my body.
“I’m proud that my work is on display and that through my art I can address some of the media’s misrepresentations of the transgender community.”
Matt Blyth, Head of Audience Development at ACW, said: “We hope that as many people as possible will come and see the amazing young talent we have on Wearside.”