Artist coming home to inspire youngsters

AN ARTIST who became the first official British Olympic Association painter is today set to make a homecoming to Ipswich to help inspire the town's youth to get involved in the 2012 London Games.

AN ARTIST who became the first official British Olympic Association painter is today set to make a homecoming to Ipswich to help inspire the town's youth to get involved in the 2012 London Games.

Key figures behind the Team Ipswich initiative are building support among businesses to fund a £15,000 project to bring acclaimed artist Kevin Whitney back to the town.

The Team Ipswich officials are planning a homecoming exhibition for Whitney next year and hope to have him tour schools to teach students about the Olympics.

The project is the latest to form part of the town's campaign to ensure it capitalises on London's hosting of the 2012 Games.


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Adam Baker, Team Ipswich manager, said: “He was the first official Olympic artist and he's a son of Ipswich and of Suffolk.

“We hope to do a roadshow working with local school children from all sorts of different backgrounds to inspire and educate them about the Olympic Games.

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“This fits in very well with the work we're doing. It's about raising the profile of 2012 and it's trying to inspire people and get them involved in the Olympics.”

Whitney, who has studios in London and Greece, is understood to have given the project his full backing.

Judy Terry, Ipswich Borough Council's spokeswoman for culture, leisure and the arts, said: “This would ensure those young people who are talented in the arts rather than sport are part of our involvement with the Olympics and it may help some discover a talent in the arts.”

Ipswich Borough Council is looking for businesses to get behind the project by providing financial support. Companies will have the chance to exhibit some of Whitney's works in their premises.

For more information contact Adam Baker on 01473 433505 or email adam.baker@ipswich.gov.uk

n How do you think Ipswich should get involved in the 2012 Olympics? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINKS:

www.teamipswich.com

www.kevinwhitney.com

KEVIN Whitney was born and bred in Suffolk. He was educated at Kesgrave High School and later Ipswich Art School.

He was the first official artist for the British Olympic Association at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and filled the same role in Barcelona in 1992.

Some of Whitney's works are held by the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association in London while others are held by the International Olympic Academy in Athens and the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

In 2002 he received a diploma from Juan Antonio Samaranch, then president of the International Olympic Committee, in recognition of his 20 years as a sports related artist.

He has painted some of the foremost athletes of modern times, including Daley Thompson and Linford Christie.

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