Making an impact: Young artist Marina Renee-Cemmick

Making an impact: Young artist Marina Renee-Cemmick

11 May 2021

Support from The Arts Society has proved invaluable for this promising artist at the outset of her career

Marina in her studioMarina in her studio

There is no one way to become an artist, but as the country’s cultural budgets are tightened, curriculums cut and creative opportunities stifled, the path is becoming ever rockier. Individual grants from The Arts Society are a crucial way of supporting young artists at the start of their careers, offering not only financial support for practical concerns such as paying for art materials and studio space, but also instilling confidence in the recipients, through recognition of their talents.

This was certainly the case for Marina Renee-Cemmick, whose skill was recognised while studying at Thomas Hardye School. Following a recommendation from the head of the art department, The Arts Society Dorset County awarded Marina a bursary of £350 towards her art foundation course at Arts University Bournemouth. ‘Beyond being very helpful in terms of paying for materials, it was a real confidence boost,’ she says. ‘That recognition helped project me into the next phase of my studies.’

Shadowed Halo

A further £500 grant from the Society also proved vital when Marina was maintaining her practice, having completed her bachelor’s in painting and printmaking at Glasgow School of Art (including overseas study in Kyoto, Japan), and getting ready to attend the Royal Drawing School in London. ‘I had wanted to study at the school since I was 15,’ she says. ‘I happened to see a boy in a hotel, who was producing these incredible sketches, and he told me that you did this all day if you studied there. That became my dream.’

‘Having that special pocket of money reserved for art-making lightens the weight’

Once again, this extra financial support was of huge benefit to Marina, as she moved to a new city and found her feet once more. ‘It makes a massive difference to your mentality, when you’re just trying to get by and pay your rent. Having that special pocket of money reserved for art-making lightens the weight. I definitely bought some materials such as coloured pencils, charcoal and canvas, which I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.’

Marina painting with the WOM Collective

In a year that has been particularly difficult for artists, Marina has been going from strength to strength. Since joining the WOM Collective, which focuses on nurturing women-led street art and forging community bonds, she has put her exceptional drawing talent to the new medium of spray-painting. Beyond fostering creative networks, this experience has led to a host of new commissions, including two projects in her home town of Bridport in the form of a mural for the Lyric Theatre, and another commercial project in a local restaurant. ‘I love the immediacy of spray paint,’ she explains. ‘Creating street art is also a very physical and public act. You are out in the elements, and people will come and talk to you about the project, or simply watch you at work.’

Group portrait

As the world begins to open up once more, Marina shows no sign of slowing down. She will be returning to London to continue her practice, with more projects and exhibitions on the horizon. ‘It has been a strange time, but I’m very lucky to continue doing what I love,’ she says, before adding: ‘Even at the best of times it can be difficult to talk about money, but The Arts Society gave me such a boost when I needed it. The Society’s support has been incredible, and I’m excited to continue working with them on talks and lecture programmes.’


Marina is giving an online lecture with The Arts Society Dorset County on 13 May. Click here for more details

For more on Marina’s practice visit

Holly Black is The Arts Society’s Digital Editor

About the Author

Holly Black


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