Youth Arts Exhibition 2021: Bright Lights

Arts Centre Washington’s annual exhibition for young artists, Bright Lights 2021, is open but this year with a difference!

The centre’s regular Youth Arts Exhibition is supported by Sunderland Culture and is a platform for young people aged 11 – 19 from across Wearside to show their exciting talent.

This year, due to the pandemic, the young people’s art works are displayed online in a virtual recreation of the centre’s art gallery above as well as in the Galleries Shopping Centre, Washington.

This exhibition has been curated by a team of young people from the Celebrate Different collective.

The Celebrate Different Collective is a group of young people aged 13-25 from across Sunderland who, with support from Sunderland Culture, co-produce and run their own cultural events, work with artists and learn new practical skills. Find out more about the group here.

The multi art-form exhibition is now in its 26th successful year. The arts centre received over 70 entries, spanning textile art, mixed media sculpture, digital photography, painting and video, from schools, youth groups and individuals from all over the city.

This year’s exhibition themes were chosen by the Celebrate Different collective, and inspired by Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden’s online exhibition, Paint the Town in Sound. Visit the exhibition here.

The themes are:

• Expression and Identity;

• The Modern World;

• The Lockdown;

• Locality and Heritage;

• Freedom and Social Change.

‘It’s been great to see that art and exhibitions are not solely limited by a gallery space; we can display art in many other creative ways. Doing an exhibition online has given us the freedom to be more creative with the look and feel of a space. It has provided a fun way to be creative with other young people with similar interests.’

Emily, Celebrate Different Collective

The video below ‘Milky Way Runaway’ has been created and performed by members of Washington Youth Theatre, along with group leader Zoe Connel.  The group imagined a post pandemic future and a daring journey to a distant planet called ‘Earth’.  Created and performed over Zoom during lockdown 2021. The group are normally meet on a Saturday morning at Arts Centre Washington.  Find out more about Washington Youth Theatre here.


This brand new track was composed by Liam Doyle, a member of the Right Track youth music project based at Arts Centre Washington. The track was inspired by Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden’s online exhibition, Paint the Town in Sound. Right Track meet at Arts Centre Washington every Saturday morning.  Find out more here.

This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Paint the Town in Sound is the second in Sunderland Culture’s series of Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme exhibitions