This summer, shortly after the publication of Salford Media Scene magazine, the editor received a letter from Cyces Education together with a stunning picture by one of the school's pupils, nine year old Mason.
"When Mason joined Cyces last September he refused to draw at all as his self esteem and motivation were both very low" wrote Liz Cushway, Education Project Worker at Cyces "He has grown in confidence and took particular care with this picture which is based on the front page of the Salford Media Scene publication…This picture really inspired Mason to begin to draw again…"
Artist Joe Coffey and the Salford Community Media Partnership (SCMP) which produced the magazine were so impressed by Mason's picture that it is now being exhibited as part of the HoodLife exhibition which recently opened at the Langworthy Cornerstone. Last Friday, Mason came into the gallery to meet Joe and see the more of the paintings for himself.
"I found the magazine in the doctors on Langworthy Road and took it home and looked at it and looked at it and looked at it, and then took it to school and copied it and coloured it" said Mason "It took me two and a half weeks to do it. I liked it because it was from Salford. My favourite picture in the exhibition is the Manchester United one, and the one with the motorbike. I like the hoodies too. I'm going to try and draw more."
For Mason's teachers, this brush with art has been a revelation.
"This was the first picture Mason had ever drawn at school" said Liz Cushway "He took two and a half weeks in class just to do that picture. To concentrate that long was a real first and we're so proud of him. It's inspired him to do so much more other work."
Liz's words are echoed by Eileen Sheerin, deputy head at Cyces Education, which specialises in working with young people who have emotional and behavioural difficulties.
"He brought this picture into school and sat for hours drawing it and colouring it in which is a huge achievement for him" she said "It was a turning point for him to do other things."
Now Joe Coffey, who showed Mason around his exhibition and gave him a signed print, is set to visit Cyces to see the pupils' artwork first hand.
"It was good to meet up with Mason at last and it's great that it's made an impact on somebody" he said "If it's inspired one kid to draw and start doing his own work, it's decent. This is as good as anything that's happened with my artwork lately."
Joe Coffey's exhibition HoodLife, and Mason's artwork, can be seen at the Langworthy Cornerstone until January 2011 – for further details see here and here.
To see a PDF of Salford Media Scene click here
* Salford Star is a member of Salford Community Media Partnership (SCMP)
Photos by Gareth Lyons