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“The arts can be seen as an impractical option for young people,” says The Sixteen Trust’s Lee Cavaliere

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Nathan Coley: We Must Cultivate Our Garden (2007)

Launching with a fundraising exhibition featuring the likes of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, the Sixteen Trust is a new arts and education charity targeting 11-16-year-olds in deprived areas of the UK. Focusing on “real-world” opportunities and connections, the charity founded by Lee Cavaliere hopes to give young people a genuine leg-up into the arts industry. Cavaliere is an art dealer and curator based in London and Margate – previously working with Tate and other private art galleries, currently managing artists, presenting at international exhibitions and fairs. The trust, he tells It’s Nice That, came out of “a frustration around the national conversation about arts and regeneration”.

“The arts have the unique capability to touch all aspects of daily life, and provide young people with opportunities through practical, creative or scientific pathways, as well as the more obvious creative ones,” he continues. “Sixteen Trust aims to inspire young people in financially challenged areas, through mentoring from real-world arts professionals, across disciplines, behind-the-scenes visits and work experience. The arts can be seen as an impractical option for young people and we aim to introduce them to people and opportunities that will raise their prospects and aspirations. Our mentors are drawn from across visual arts, galleries, museums, theatre, music and other industries and will bring a diverse outlook to help young people understand how they can contribute and achieve.”

Its inaugural exhibition draw ties in with this year’s Turner Prize in more ways than meets the eye. Both shows feature works by over 20 former Turner Prize nominees, including pieces donated by artists Tracey Emin and Jeremy Deller, as well as private collectors, such as works by Assemble, Damien Hirst, David Shrigley, Nathan Coley, Jane and Louise Wilson, Christine Borland, Rosalind Nashashibi and Richard Wright. The first show opens in London today and will sell artworks to raise money for the trust. The second and larger show lands in Margate from 14 September – where the Turner Prize exhibition is located this year – and adds pieces by Anthea Hamilton, Simon Patterson and Lucy Skaer, among others.

This location makes a statement, too. “Margate [is] one of the most economically deprived areas in the country,” says Cavaliere. “There is this impression that bringing an exhibition like that to a poor town is like some magic anti-poverty torpedo which is going to automatically improve people’s prospects and circumstances. This prompted me to kick off Sixteen’s activity with a show that will help to drive some practical benefits to this area.” 

The exhibition is being held in the Sunshine Cafe, a 1930s Grade 2* listed building on Margate seafront, the first time it will be open after its closure in 2011. Titled We Must Cultivate Our Garden, all aspects of the show urge the industry to invest in its future. As such, the second room of the exhibition features emerging artists Cavaliere has worked with before.

“Marc Standing and Bartholomew Beal work predominantly with paint, while Melvin Galapon and Emily Forgot have developed their practice from illustration and commercial projects,” he explains. “They’re an interesting mix who share a passion for strong imagery and striking use of colour.”

We Must Cultivate Our Garden is open at 10 Hanover Street, London until 8 September 2019, supported by Queens Fine Art, and Sunshine Cafe, Margate from 14 September – 20 October 2019, supported by Arts Council England.

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Christine Borland: 
The Velocity of Drops: Operating Theatre (2003)

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Jane and Louise Wilson: South Corridor, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas (1999)

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Damien Hirst: For the Love of God, Enlightenment (2012)

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Tracey Emin: I could have Loved my Innocence
 (2007)