Profile Highlight: FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) & SMASH (Strength, Masculinities, and Sexual Health)
As ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory grows, we realize that it’s a bit overwhelming to read through all of the profiles. We’re hoping that by occasionally highlighting some profiles on our blog, you may learn about an initiative that you may not have initially seen in the directory. Also, if you know of a Canadian community-engaged arts for social change initiative that isn’t in our directory, but should be, please let us know! We love and need your input/feedback in building this resource! -Lisa, Content Coordinator at ArtBridges.
“FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) and SMASH (Strength, Masculinities, and Sexual Health) are revolutionary ways of working with Indigenous and Northern youth to promote mental and sexual health and healthy relationships. Facilitators strive to pass on practical tools designed to aid youth in making decisions that are right for them, even in the most difficult situations.
FOXY/SMASH use traditional beading, theatre, digital storytelling, Inuit/Dene games, traditional drumming, photography, and music to help youth express their knowledge, opinions, and questions in a supportive and creative environment. With a strong focus on sexual health and empowered decision-making, participants across the North get to understand their own cues and build knowledge through engaging, arts based activities.
Since January 2012, FOXY has reached over 2500 female-identifying youth in more than 35 NWT, Nunavut, and Yukon communities through over 200 workshops and 8 Peer Leader Retreats that have brought together over 200 Northern and Indigenous young FOXY Peer Leaders. Since it’s inception in May 2016, SMASH has reached an additional 1000 male-identifying youth through our school programming and two Peer Leader Retreats.”