Nana and Grace focused on positive messaging. Photograph: Hackney Council

Legendary film director Wes Anderson and musical genius Dan Snaith are among a number of artists who have been helping youngsters across Hackney explore their creativity.

The maestros have been offering advice to 30 children aged between 8 and 16 as part of Hackney Young Voices – a project run by local organisation Play/SPACE and funded by the Town Hall and Arts Council England.

After a series of workshops and play sessions, the project will culminate in the children’s artworks being show off on billboards at Gillett Square, Clapton Pond, and Stoke Newington station from 15-29 August.

One participant, 13-year-old Woody, said: “I’ve always loved drawing, and it is important to me, but not many people knew about it. I started the project for Play/SPACE and suddenly lots of people were looking at my designs.

“Now my work is part of a big billboard, and my hero Wes Anderson told me he likes my work! I feel proud and happy about sharing my creations, and can pursue my dreams working as a graphic novelist and animator.”

Alex puts the finishing touches on her design. Photograph: Hackney Council

Play/SPACE kicked off Hackney Young Voices by asking a simple question: what happens when you give schoolchildren the space to explore their creative skills in a playful project?

Katherine Mengardon, the organisation’s founder, said: “Giving children agency and a chance to explore and express themselves allows them to grow and develop.

“This is something we understand in the early years but it seems to disappear by the end of primary school and for teenagers, yet this is also a key period in which they need the freedom to explore their options and define themselves.

“Creative industries are thriving in the UK and young people should have more opportunities to explore these careers in meaningful ways.”

The project continues until 25 August with free, drop-in workshops at Shakespeare Walk Adventure Playground for young people aged 13-16.

Hackney’s culture chief Cllr Chris Kennedy said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the project for all their great work in creating a fantastic platform for young residents to express themselves creatively through artwork.

“In Hackney, we understand the importance of providing opportunities for young residents to explore their interests and realise their talent.

“Through the art, young people have a chance to discover and develop skills, while highlighting what matters most to them.”

To find out more about Hackney Young Voices, visit