From an early age Jan was passionate about grassroots community values and from his own teen experiences became particularly concerned with improving the lives of young people in inner city areas – he was frustrated by the lack of resources available for young people’s creativity and socialising, made worse by funding cuts and gentrification. His artistic and organising talents broke down borders and boundaries and he was the driving force behind ATG, a North London graffiti artists’ collective.
What the legacy fund is:
A fund supporting young people's initiatives - at his core Jan was always about helping in any way he could from painting workshops in youth clubs and encouraging new talent, to the more recent work with the school and young people in Nepal and Palestine.
We want to finish the projects that he started and carry on his work with young people.
Our first project:
Last year Jan was out in Nepal heading up from Kathmandu into the mountains with a jeep laden full of paint, paper, canvases and cameras with the idea to teach art classes, paint walls and make a film to promote the Maya Universe Academy, and help with fundraising, for example, the school needs an indoor meeting place and plans to build a hall.
As was Jan’s way he made the place more fun and colourful before he even touched a paint cap. He was going to go back this year with an ‘all-girl crew’ to continue the work.
The school wants to name their hall after Jan. So the project plans are now to build the Jan Francis Community Art Hall at the school incorporating an art studio, theatre and assembly place [building plans are in the photos section]. For that we are going to need all of your help to raise up to £20,000.
The Maya Universe Academy encourages social responsibility and creative-mindedness while providing free education and enabling students and their families to achieve greater independence and transform their lives. Students families are involved in building the school and ploughing the land to grow organic food to feed the children and staff. It’s a real grassroots education alternative with aims to change the schooling opportunities in Nepal & Northern India for girls and boys from the lowest income communities. The founder believes the arts are as important as maths and literacy, and that girls should be able to access education as much as boys.
How you can get involved:
Attend the party - we will be throwing a huge warehouse party with an incredible line up of artists who are friends of or worked with Jan, it will be held at Park Royal Studios on 7th July.
Volunteer - Anyone wishing to help out before or on the night i.e. with publicity, set up, bar, door, ATG T-shirt stall, please get in touch.