A 14-year-old from Burbage is due to have a selection of his paintings exhibited after being funded by a government scheme, soon to be axed due to financial cutbacks.
Zac Cummings was awarded £250 by the Find Your Talent scheme, which encourages young people to participate in cultural activities. He put the money towards buying paint and canvases to create a body of work to be exhibited.
The project gave Zac, who has dyslexia and dyspraxia, a great focus for his natural creativity, "I felt like I had to do something important with the money because not many people get the chance."
Aarran Smith from the British Dyslexia Association believes that many dyslexic people have creative pastimes or jobs. He feels Zac's skills would have eventually shone through, but the £250 had given his confidence a wonderful boost.
Zac uses a spoon to drip paint onto a canvas, then tips the canvas and uses a straw to blow the paint into interesting patterns. Once the paint has dried he uses black and white pens to add details, such as eyes and teeth, and create his unique characters.
He said the project has given him new confidence artistically and socially, "I wouldn't be here now if I didn't have the funding and now it's cut I guess there's going to be someone else who's like me and they're just going to miss out on the chance."
Zac's mother, Rachael said the scheme has revealed Zac to have creative skills no-one was aware of, even himself, "He has literally come from almost nothing, to producing a fantastic body of work that hopefully will inspire the people."
Head teacher of Hastings High School, where Zac is a student, Matthew Pike said there had been a significant change in the 14-year-old's character and approach to life since being awarded the art funding.
Matthew said, "Now he walks around the corridors with his head held high, his shoulders back, people know who he is, he's proud of his work, they're proud of his work and he has been a model pupil."
The head teacher said the words 'enjoy' and 'achieve' are key to his approach to education and that the school would strive to continue to nurture talent. However he highlighted that with a limited school budget, core education must come first.
County Councillor David Sprayson said the Find Your Talent scheme had made a significant impact to the lives of young people in Leicestershire, but believed cultural development could continue at a local level in partnership with museums and libraries.
You can see Zac's exhibition at The Gallery, Hinckley Library on Lancaster Road, Hinckley until Friday 13 August 2010. Find out more on his website: zaccummings.co.uk
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